The Head of the Charles is over, and most of Cambridge has probably forgotten about rowing, but in New Zealand, the action is just getting started, as the World Championships kicked off today. Since Lake Karapiro isn't particularly convenient for many of us, let The Back Page fill you in on the latest action by three competitors who used to call the Charles River home: Malcolm Howard '05, Esther Lofgren '07-'09, and Henrik Rummel '09. None of the three have raced yet, but here's a little background information on the Harvard and Radcliffe rowing alums.
MALCOLM HOWARD '05
In crew, Malcolm Howard is something like a backboard. Competitors throw their best efforts his way, and he sends them back to where they came from. As a member of the Canadian national team, Howard has made his way to the top of the podium at both the Olympics and the World Championships, winning gold in the 8+ at the Beijing Olympics and the 2007 World Championships. Howard has also taken two world silvers with the team-- one in the 4+ in 2004 and one in the 8+ in 2009.
The Harvard crew team has found that Howard's name alone is enough to break the opposition—literally. In a spring race between the Crimson and Princeton, the Tigers veered off course, crashing into Harvard's new Empacher, the same exact boat in which Howard won gold in Beijing. What might have been a sad ending for an accomplished boat turned out to be a broken bow on Princeton's boat. The Crimson dedicated the boat to Howard soon after.
But while Howard has proven beyond doubt his ability to move big boats, how will the star rower fare in his new event, the single? Formerly a member of the engine room, Howard has to adjust to rowing with two oars and adding steering and setting the rhythm to his responsibilities. Will the gold medalist find success in his latest endeavor? Stay tuned for The Back Page's coverage of the World Championships.
ESTHER LOFGREN '07-'09
In the 2008 Olympics, two Radcliffe alumnae helped changed the world rowing landscape. Neither one was named Esther Lofgren. Instead, the Californian trained for her final collegiate season while watching Caryn Davies '04-'05 and Michelle Guerette '02 steal the show in Beijing. But with Davies and Guerette off to law school and business school, respectively, the stage has been set for the next Radcliffe alum to make her mark.
After being named a Division I All-American rower in 2007, Lofgren decided to take a year off from school to train with the national team in hopes of making the U.S. Olympic squad. But she wasn't ready just yet.
Since being cut from the Olympics, Lofgren has shown her ability to move boats in both collegiate and international competition, making a strong case for her selection to the 2012 squad. In her final year at Radcliffe, the port helped the first varsity eight finish in a near-tie at Eastern Sprints while rowing in the four-seat. On the international scene that summer, Lofgren was even more impressive, taking silver in the four at the 2009 World Championships after earning the same medal in the eight at that year's World Cup event. This year, she has found continued success, stroking the U.S. women's eight to a gold medal at the World Cup race in Lucerne, Switzerland. Now in the seven seat, Lofgren hopes to deliver similar results in Lake Karapiro.
HENRIK RUMMEL '09
He may speak five languages (English, Danish, Swedish, German, and French), but on the water, Henrik Rummel lets his stroke do the talking. Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, his move to the United States proved to be a boon for the U.S. national team. Rummel has won world championships at the junior, U23, and senior levels. The rower took on North America first, winning gold in two events in the 2003 CanAmMex Regatta. After proving his continental prowess, Rummel set his sights on the rest of the world, and two years later he won the junior world championships in the eight. Like many top junior rowers, Rummel chose to call Newell Boathouse home for his collegiate years. In 2007, he helped the Crimson's top boat win both Eastern Sprints and the Ladies' Challenge Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta.
But it is on the international level where Rummel has truly made his mark. A year after winning Henley, he took gold in the U23 world championships, again in the eight. The very next year, Rummel took gold again, this time rowing the pair in the senior world championships.
Now in the four without coxswain, Rummel hopes that a different event won't bring him a different result. Having found success at every level, he looks to return to his most familiar setting: the top of a podium.