Though a winding course, stiff winds, and rough waters made it a challenging day for the Lakers, both the men’s and women’s crews battled back to claim top ten finishes at the Head of the Charles Regatta.
The Men’s Varsity 8+ started their race in the fourth position, but quickly closed the gap on the crews ahead of them. By the time they reached Riverside Bridge, the first checkpoint of the race, the Lakers had the fastest split in the field by over two seconds (3:23.785). They maintained their lead with a time of 8:26.139 at the second checkpoint, the Weld Exhibition, about halfway through the race. The Lakers had a little trouble, though, coming around the nearly 180-degree turn in the last mile of the race, losing a few seconds and falling behind Williams College as they passed the Cambridge Boat Club 12:40.338 into their race. Unfortunately for the Lakers, this was ground they could not make up as they crossed the finish line fourth with a time of 15:15.112, four seconds behind winners Williams College (15:11.487). Trinity College and Brock University came in second and third, respectively.
The Women’s Varsity 8+ was the third boat to start in their race. Still within reach of the leaders, the Lakers were in fourth place at the Riverside Bridge (4:01.856), leaders and held a four second gap over the boats behind them. They held onto their fourth place spot through the midway point at Weld with a time of 9:51.424, still opening water on the other crews. But the women too had a problem with the 180-degree bend in the river, stopping completely to avoid a collision with the bridge and to complete the turn. Despite this, the Lakers fought back and managed to hold on to a tenth place finish with an overall time of 18:02.775. Williams College finished in first with a time of 17:11.649, followed by Bates College and then Trinity.
Outside of racing, the Lakers made a long weekend of the trip, leaving for Boston late Thursday night. After arriving Friday afternoon, the team had the opportunity to practice on the Charles River and row the course before race day. Afterwards, they spent the evening in Harvard Square for dinner and to see the sights of the city.
Saturday was a day for rest and relaxation as the Lakers prepared for their day of racing. And what better way to prepare for a race than with a great dinner: the team was invited to Outback Steakhouse where owner and Grand Valley Alumnus James Dunleavy provided a delicious meal to the rowers. Overall, the team had a great experience both on and off the racecourse.
The Lakers are now off until Saturday, November 1 when they will travel to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Head of the Eagle regatta.