October 25, 2005

Cornell Crews Race In World's Largest Regatta

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The Red Sox may not have made it to the World Series this year, but Boston had another reason to celebrate this weekend. The city was host to thousands of rowers from around the world, all of whom competed in the annual Head of the Charles Regatta.

The regatta is considered the world’s largest rowing competition and has grown tremendously over the past 41 years. The Head of the Charles brings over 300,000 spectators from around the world to watch the 7,500 rowers representing 15 countries. There were 52 races on the men’s, women’s, collegiate, senior, club, and youth levels. Cornell sent boats from all three of its crews to the Charles River, participating with over 1,500 other boats. Competition was fierce, yet all six of the Cornell boats finished strongly against the many other boats on the water.

“Teams came from all over the world,” said junior Tyler Davis of the men’s heavyweight crew. “We were racing next to a German boat Sunday.”

Both lightweight boats finished in the top-10 against a slew of high-powered opponents. The best finish of the day for the Red came from the lightweight men’s four, which took sixth place out of 16 participants. The four-man boat finished third out of the six collegiate boats competing with a time of 18:09.388. The lightweight eight-man boat turned in a 10th place finish at 15:59.070, three seconds behind Princeton and slightly ahead Queen’s University.

The heavyweight men’s crew took 21st place out of 42 boats in the championship eights race with a time of 15:49.130. The boat finished four seconds behind Ruderclub Reuss Luzern and just ahead of Rutgers.

“We finished where we belonged,” said heavyweight men’s coach Dan Roock. “We’re still working on our fundamentals and we weren’t prepared to race at our best yet.”

The heavyweight crew came in 15th place out of 30 collegiate boats. Princeton took first place overall, showing that at this point they are ahead of its U.S. collegiate competition.

“We didn’t do as well as we had hoped to,” Davis said. “We know that we can do better. We’ve got a young team, and there are a lot of things that we can improve on.”

The men’s heavyweight four finished strong, taking 11th place out of the 26 boats competing. Out of the 16 collegiate crews in the heavyweight fours race, Cornell came in seventh.

“Competition is thick in the middle,” Roock said. “Princeton is out front at the moment but the teams are pretty even in the center of the field.”

The women’s boats also faced a tough competition. The women’s four finished in 13th place behind Virginia. The women’s eight met strong resistance, finishing in 28th place out of 47 boats racing.

The regatta began in 1965 when Cambridge Boat Club members proposed a “head race,” similar to races held in England. “Head” races follow a format in which boats start several seconds apart and race against each other and the clock. Margins are then compared to determine the winner. The race lets the crews compete against both the other boats as well as the clock – giving the Red a chance to compare its finish to other teams as well as where it needs to be for future competitions. “Every race we go to prepares us for the next one,” Roock said. “We’ll be better off for our race next week.”

The crews return to action Oct. 30 at the Princeton Chase.

Archived article by Matt Sarnak
Sun Contributor