Women's Crew Posts Strong Performance at Foot of the Charles

From Head to the Foot, the attitude is the same for the Radcliffe lightweight team.

A month ago, thousands of fans gathered along the Charles River for the world-famous Head of the Charles Regatta. This weekend, Radcliffe boats raced before less crowded banks at the Foot of the Charles, a 6000-meter race that includes the Head of the Charles course.

Despite the difference in publicity and name recognition, the Black and White did not take the race any less seriously.

“Head of the Charles is definitely the biggest race of the fall season just because so many international teams so many different collegiate teams come,” co-captain Olivia Henry said. “It’s just a huge weekend for all rowers. That being said, we work equally as hard coming up to Foot of the Charles because every race we want to make the best race ever.”

This mentality was evident this weekend for the Radcliffe lightweights. The Black and White’s first lightweight boat came in first for lightweights and fourth overall, with a time of 21 minutes, 28.3 seconds. Two other Radcliffe boats raced as well, coming in fifth and seventh for lightweights.


Northeastern’s heavyweights took first out of 23 boats with a time of 20:41.8, topping the runner-up Radcliffe heavyweights by five seconds.

“The fact that we were able to field three competitive eights shows that our team has so much depth, especially from our freshmen and seniors,” sophomore Katelyn McEvoy said. “Our seniors contribute to our depth, leading by example to create a culture on our team that emphasizes hard work, dedication, and camaraderie. Their years of experience are invaluable to us.”

But this year, even the most experienced rower had to make adjustments, as the race has been increased by half a mile. Apart from the new endurance aspect, the change allowed the rowers to row in eights instead of fours, as they had before.

The race was also a head race, meaning the boats were timed instead of racing side by side. This, along with the openweight field, sets a challenging race for the lightweight boats.

“Head races can be challenging when boats begin to pass one another and both want to take the inside of a turn, especially on a river as winding as the Charles,” McEvoy said. “The boats may become spread out, so another team could beat you by seconds without you ever realizing that the race was so close.”

Although this format tested the rowers, it also allowed the Radcliffe lightweights to pace themselves off he heavyweight boats. Guhan alerted her teammates  to the positions of competing boats throughout the race.

“As a coxswain, how I deal with [a head race] is I just continue to call out those other boats,” Guhan said. “It’s even more exciting if you can beat them because we’re not even supposed to be competing against them.”

The weather provided another challenge, as the race took place in 34 degree weather, with a 12 mph headwind.

“The weather conditions were definitely not ideal,” McEvoy said. “The wind-chill was uncomfortable, but the strong headwind proved to be much more of a problem for us. It made us lose our rhythm several times throughout the race.”

Despite the weather and format changes, racing on home turf proved an advantage for Radcliffe.

“The nice thing about going to Harvard is that we get to practice on this river every day,” Guhan said. “We know the course very well. We know exactly what to expect.”

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the regatta was that it marked the close of the Black and White’s fall season. Now, the rowers look toward winter training to prepare for their main season in the spring.

“We’re at a really good point right now,” Henry said. “We’re getting very motivated to stay focused during the winter months, and stay training so we can come back and have a great spring season.”


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