For the sixth year running, men’s lightweight rowing received a medal at the Head of the Charles Regatta. It was the 55th edition of the famed race, which brings together the world’s best squads.
The Red kicked off its season in Boston with high expectations — last spring, the team won the IRA National Championship for the fourth time in six years.
“[It was a] solid performance for both of our crews,” said head coach Chris Kerber. “[We have a] fun group of athletes and staff who are high achievers.”
Coxswains junior Jamie Cashen and senior Lindsey Gibbons were important assets to the team this weekend. Cashen’s lightweight eight boat crossed the finish line third with a time of 14:13.256; Gibbon’s lightweight four boat placed sixth among sixteen boats with a time of 16:18.277.
Gibbons and Cashen were able to review the course the day before the race from the banks of the Charles River. The difficulty of steering a boat is compounded by having so little time to get one’s bearings on the course itself.
But the weather was on their side, with near-perfect conditions on Sunday, and so was their position in the race, in bow number 1.
The regatta is prestigious not only due to its high-caliber competition but also because of the difficulties in the race itself.
“The approximately 5k race course up the winding Charles River under seven bridges is especially technical in the area of steering,” Kerber said.
“There is a near 180° turn to port about halfway through the race through the Weeks Foot Bridge where crews tend to get tied up and steering and command of the vessel while the athletes are pressing,” the head coach added. “In the last mile, the Eliot Bridge ‘S’ turn also requires an instinctual steering hand combined with some gutsy performance efforts by the athletes.”
Pleased with this weekend’s performance, Kerber is already looking ahead.
“We are always making improvements on the details and our ability to focus is never relieved,” he said. “This league is nutty competitive and the talent that is pouring in requires a lot more from all of us.”
The Red will race again this Sunday at the Princeton Chase.