October 23, 2018

Facing Winds, Heavyweight Rowing Underwhelms at Preseason Boston Regatta

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Cornell men’s heavyweight rowing found itself unable to weather Boston’s rough waters at the 54th Head of the Charles Regatta last Saturday, crossing the finish line behind 19 other boats.

The Red fielded a single eight-man boat — composed of seniors Matthew Tomaszewski, Raymond Weeks, Michael Grady, Andrew Greubel, Alex Bebb, Ben Hawley, juniors James Aimer and Tommy Brittingham and lone Sophomore Nick Horbowy — which placed 20th of 32 boats in the men’s Championship Eights Field, finishing with a time of 15:57.748.

“As we look over the numbers, and the data we gathered afterwards, I was quite disappointed,” said head coach Todd Kennett.

But while Kennett openly acknowledged the team’s shortcomings, he also attributed some of its underwhelming performance to poor conditions.

“The conditions were really rough that day — when that happens, it really just comes down to keeping your bodyweight relaxed and pulling hard,” Kennet said. “We got hit by a couple big wind gusts, and it slammed the boat pretty hard and guys got a little bit tense.”

Facing high wind speeds — at one point reaching 23 miles per hour — and choppy water, the Red found itself ultimately unable to adapt, harming the boat’s concentration and rhythm, according to Kennett.

“It’s really hard to get yourself to pull hard again [after losing pace],” he said. “You might think you’re pulling hard, but you’re really so tense that your movements get locked up.”

While the Head of the Charles regatta is only considered a preseason tune-up event — and will not negatively affect the Red’s record — Kennett stressed the importance of learning after each race, official or not.

“We need to be listening to each other and where we put emphasis on each of the stroke cycles, so that 1,200 pounds of mass can work together,” Kennet said.

As the team heads into a rigorous winter training session before the official start of the season, Kennett explained he has two principal goals for the pre-season — teamwork and mechanics.

“First, we always have an idea of what we, as a team, want to do together. We need to be unified in our thought about what we want to work on in the coming weeks,” Kennett said. “The second thing is not just pulling really hard, but also fine-tuning how we do it.”

The Red returns to more familiar waters when it hosts Team USA this Saturday at the Cayuga Lake Inlet.