Cornell women’s rowing made the trek to Cambridge, Massachusetts this weekend to take part in the 53rd annual Head of the Charles, a competition featuring some of the best collegiate and international rowing in the world.
With all three segments of the Cornell rowing program and several alumni boats competing, the Red walked away with a bronze medal performance by the Women’s Alumni Eight, as well as a gold in the Men’s Alumni Eight. The women also took silver in the Women’s Championship Fours with a time of 17:12.656.
“There was a lot of positive energy due to the alumni presence and the athletes are keen to build upon the legacy of excellence achieved by those alumni,” said interim head coach Barney Williams, who led the Red in his first competition at the helm this weekend.
Although the Red did not field an 8+, Williams mentioned how beneficial an experience attending and competing in the Charles regatta could be as the team looks to get a feeling for its abilities in the fall period.
“It was very valuable to see the gold standard of women’s international and collegiate rowing on display in the Championship 8+ event,” Williams told Cornell Big Red. “While we did not field an 8+, the five athletes who competed were exposed to the standard which they will have to meet in order to be competitive in the spring.”
A major highlight from the weekend came with the Women’s Championship Fours, which took home silver with a time just over 17 minutes. Such a strong performance in a world-renowned event bodes well for the Red as they set their sites on a championship caliber spring.
“With several months of winter training on the horizon there is reason to believe that significant improvement is possible,” Williams told The Sun. “It was encouraging to see the crew embody the philosophy of train at X so you can race at X,” referring to the “practice as you play” mantra in sports.
Using this weekend as a learning experience, Williams spoke on how the team can use this event to improve going forward into the remainder of the fall slate, especially looking toward the championship segment of the school year in the spring.
“[The] most important message from the weekend is that the athletes were willing to train through the Regatta rather than shift the training focus towards performance,” Williams said, adding it is a mindset built for a productive offseason and successful spring.
With only two more events in the fall, the Red looks to improve at the Princeton Chase and Cornell Autumn Classic before setting their focus on April 1 for the commencement of the spring season at the Doc Hosea Invitational Regatta.