October 26, 2004

Rowers Compete at Boston Race

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Boston hosted some tough competition this past weekend. The Patriots won at home to remain one of only two undefeated teams in the NFL. The Red Sox defeated St. Louis at home to lead the World Series, 2-0. And Boston”s Head of the Charles Regatta proved to be a challenging race for Cornell”s rowers.

Cornell sent five boats to the event: a men”s varsity eight, a men”s lightweight eight, a men”s heavyweight four, a men”s lightweight four and a women”s varsity eight.

In the end, the men”s lightweight four had the best finish of Cornell”s five crews by placing second with a time of 12:51, just behind the Ottawa Rowing Club . The second place finish was over 25 seconds behind Ottawa”s winning time of 12:26, but first in the group of four collegiate crews.

The men”s lightweight eight turned in a time of 11:32 to take ninth place out of 29 crews. The finish was good enough for a fifth among the event”s 11 collegiate boats.

The event, established in 1965 by the Cambridge Boat Club, was organized as a ‘head’ race where crews have a staggered start. This allows the crews to race both against each other and against the clock.

The crews hoped to keep up their success after the Head of the Ohio race on Oct. 2 where the heavyweight men finished first and both the lightweight men and varsity women finished second.

But in Boston, the results were different as the teams competed against two formidable foes -world-class crews from 15 countries and fierce wind gusts.

Race officials changed the three-mile course to a shorter course due to the 15 to 20 mile per hour winds.

‘The change probably hurt us a little bit,’ said men”s heavyweight coach Dan Roock. ‘One of our strengths is endurance and rowing at a sustainable pace. It didn”t make a whole lot of difference, but we might have done a little better [with the longer course].’

While the success of the two lightweight crews looks promising, Cornell”s three other crews placed out of the top ten in their respective categories despite strong performances.

‘We performed well given the preparation and training we have done so far,’ Roock said. ‘We worked hard this fall. We just needed to go to see where we fell.’

The men”s varsity eight placed 15th with a time of 11:20. The Cambridge University Boat Club took first, nearly 40 seconds ahead of Cornell”s crew. To round out the men”s division, the heavyweight four finished in 13th place with a time of 12:46.

‘We had mixed results. The first goal is to [come] within five percent of the winning time, and the second is to place as high as possible,’ said heavyweight commodore Andrew Meyer, who rowed with the heavyweight four crew. ‘We achieved the first goal. The results are encouraging.’

The women”s eight also faced a tough group of competitors. The women, placing 23rd of 42 crews after recording a time of 13:02, did manage to put up the 19th-best time out of 32 collegiate boats in the category.

The rowers hope to improve their finishes during the next race, the Princeton Chase, on Nov. 7.

Archived article by Kristina Kovach
Sun Contributor