Michael Suguitan / Sun Staff Photographer

Men's rowing at the Schwartz Cup on Cayuga Lake on Saturday, Sept. 30.

October 24, 2017

Men’s Rowing Squads See Strong Finishes at Charles Regatta

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At the world’s largest rowing event, featuring a curvy, 4800-meter course, the Cornell men’s heavyweight rowing team took 12th place overall in the 53rd Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, 10th among college teams in the Men’s Championship Eight category.

In a competitive field of 26 eights from across the country, the Red finished with a time of 13:59.716, sandwiched between crews from Boston University (13:58.622) and Northeastern (14:01.380). UC Berkeley led the field with a time of 13:27.469, while the Sudbury Rowing Club and Yale followed behind with second and third, respectively.

“The crew had an honest run on the course, worked hard, and were competitive,” head coach Todd Kennett ’91 said to Cornell Big Red. “This was a great foundation to start our spring season from, and with some basic improvements and continued hard work, we can have a great year.”

Next up for the heavyweight squad is a race and practice with members of Team USA in Ithaca from Oct. 25 to 27.

The lightweight team, meanwhile, had an eight and a four race at the Charles. The eight took silver, losing only to Princeton, while the four finished in in fourth place, just .056 seconds behind Columbia in third.

“I was more or less pleased with our performances finishing around 10 seconds off the leaders [in both events],” lightweight head coach Chris Kerber told The Sun. “We see many opportunities to improve our racing tenacity this week.”

Kerber added that the conditions his boats had to endure presented an abnormal opportunity to train and adapt to unusual situations.

“The Charles was a unique beast this year,” he said. “With near perfect conditions and very low water flow, racing up the Charles River placed a little more emphasis on pure physiology and sheer determination.”

While still a good opportunity to train for the spring championship season, most races in the fall slate are ‘head races,’ in which each boat in the category starts 15 seconds apart. Since these races are not head-to-head, it can make it more challenging to keep up a steady speed the whole way, not having other crews next to you to pace the field, but Kerber said it comes down to the rowers keeping themselves able to push themselves through the whole piece.

“In the ‘pole position’ it can be deceptively good or challenging, the athletes and crew need to be on their game to push away from the field,” he said. “We can never turn our backs on this league of crews; there are no ‘gimmies’ or ‘mulligans’ in this day and age, at this level of competition.”

This weekend, the lightweights travel to central New Jersey to compete in the Princeton Chase.