Crimson Shines Through Windy Weather on the Charles

Jessica S. Lin

Yesterday afternoon saw solid performances from all four of the Crimson’s boats on the Charles, as the first varsity lightweight eight finished sixth and the first heavyweight eight posted a ninth-place effort.

Four Radcliffe crews faced off against a slew of collegiate and international foes in the annual Head of the Charles Regatta yesterday afternoon. Despite the tough competition, the Crimson women drew on the hometown crowd to post a set of excellent early-season results.

The lightweights raced first, fielding two boats in the lightweight eight division. Radcliffe’s first varsity eight placed sixth overall and third among collegiate crews with a time of 17:36.954 for the 5K race.

“I think we were hoping to place a little better than we had, but that being said, for the 1V…this is the fastest we’ve done the course,” lightweight captain Rebekah Kharrazi said. “The conditions were kind of rocky at points, which means we’re getting faster, getting better, and that’s pretty exciting.”

The Crimson had to navigate a windier-than-usual course along the Charles, adding to the challenge of the grueling race.

“It was the wind in the basin, which is much more open. It was really wavy and the worst part of the course,” Kharrazi explained. “Everyone is dealing with the same conditions. In the end, it doesn’t really mean anything.”

The first varsity finished just five seconds behind Princeton and 21 seconds behind collegiate winner Wisconsin. The Vesper Boat Club dominated the division, winning the race by almost 20 seconds with a final time of 16:49.997.

Radcliffe’s second varsity boat was 12th overall, clocking in at 18:42.212. After the Tigers scratched their second varsity, the Crimson was the only team who was able to field two boats in the race, which bodes well for the squad’s depth throughout the season.

“We have places to go, and we haven’t petered out,” Kharrazi said. “We have more potential.”

On the heavyweight side, the Radcliffe first boat posted a solid ninth-place finish in the 38-team Championship Eight field. The Crimson was fifth among collegiate crews, finishing .4 seconds ahead of the Stanford first varsity.

That victory was sweet revenge for Radcliffe, who lost out to the Cardinal in two races at the Head of the Oklahoma two weeks ago.

The Crimson launched right after Stanford yesterday, setting up a head-to-head competition that continued throughout the race.

“They were 10 seconds ahead of us at Oklahoma. We went after them today, and we gave it everything,” heavyweight co-captain Anna Kendrick said. “We were really excited to see us inching up on them, and that we were winning. We were really happy with that result.”

Radcliffe clocked in at 16:44.851, more than 40 seconds behind the eventual winner, the London Training Center. The Yale first varsity dominated the collegiate field, finishing with a time of 16:25.331.

In Kendrick’s eyes, the Crimson’s top boat did everything it could in yesterday’s race.

“There’s always a constant level of training that we go after, and we felt very fit and prepared today. We’re really working on blending, getting long, relaxed strokes to get us this strength and power out there,” she said. “We want to stretch out the stroke and get all eight of us rowing unified and powerful.”

Radcliffe’s second boat also posted good results, finishing 25th overall. Its time of 17:25.962 placed them just .3 seconds behind defending national champion Brown’s second crew.

“I think it’s a really encouraging start to the season, we started strong.” Kendrick said. “We know that the league is so competitive, and we’re out there fighting with them and more than holding our own. Our boat is the best we can ask for.”

Meanwhile, the Crimson also had an entry in Saturday’s Club Women’s Eight race, as a boat of heavyweight novices got its first chance to compete.

Radcliffe placed 24th overall with a time of 18:25.525 after being shouldered with a one-minute penalty. Yale’s entry won the race easily in 16:47.894.

—Staff writer Kate Leist can be reached at

—Staff writer Walter E. Howell can be reached at