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Harvard Crew Wraps Up Fall at Foot of the Charles

While the Head of the Charles Regatta in October (pictured above) marks the highlight of the fall crew season, the Foot of the Charles Regatta on Nov. 13 was the fall finale for all four Harvard rowing teams.
While the Head of the Charles Regatta in October (pictured above) marks the highlight of the fall crew season, the Foot of the Charles Regatta on Nov. 13 was the fall finale for all four Harvard rowing teams. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Bridget T. Sands, Contributing Writer

For the collegiate crew teams that consider the Charles River their home turf, the fall season concluded on Nov. 13 with one last row on familiar waters.

The Foot of the Charles Regatta, hosted by the Harvard and Radcliffe teams, is the much smaller autumn finale that follows October’s global Head of the Charles.

There were four races in total: both the men and women had a “four” and an “eight”, where each boat racing has four and eight rowers, respectively. All four of Harvard’s crew teams were well represented, facing little outside competition.


The only non-Harvard entry in the men’s contest was Northeastern, which only has a heavyweight squad.

The first race of the day was the men’s four, with all three teams entering four separate boats ranked A, B, C and D within their respective programs. The “A boat” is the most competitive boat of each program, their “A team” of rowers. The other boats follow in order, the “B boat” the next most capable, and so on.

In the men’s heavyweight competition, Northeastern’s A boat placed first, completing the course in 12:35. The Huskies were followed by the four Harvard heavyweight boats, who finished in alphabetical order within a sub-35-second span between one another.

The Lightweights’ A boat was preceded by Northeastern’s B and followed by its C, then the rest of the Harvard lightweight boats in the order of B, D then C. Northeastern’s D boat finished in the basement.

In the men’s eight, the Harvard heavyweights entered four boats, ranked A through D. The Crimson lightweights raced three, A through C, and Northeastern only one A boat on the heavyweight side.

The Harvard heavyweight A and B boats took first and second, finishing in 11:36 and 11:43, respectively. Northeastern ended in third with a time of 12:07. The field was rounded out by Harvard: the heavyweight C, next Lightweights A then B, followed by the final Harvard heavyweight and lightweight boats, respectively.

“Overall, a terrific team-wide result demonstrating good depth,” Charles Butt, the Harvard men’s heavyweight crew coach, wrote in an email. “Losing at the top end is tough, but it’s early in the year, and the team always responds well to challenges.”


The Radcliffe women had more competition over the weekend. Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, and the University of Rhode Island all participated in the races. Among the visitors, Boston University was the only one that entered lightweight boats in addition to their heavyweights.

Twenty-eight boats faced off in the women’s eight. The Radcliffe heavies contributed four boats, ranked A through D within the program, and the lights added two, A and B. Each Radcliffe team also entered a novice boat of ameatur rowers that has been training this semester hoping to integrate into the respective programs.

The lightweight A was the first Harvard-affiliated boat to finish, taking fourth place in an impressive 13:32. The heavyweight A boat was less than a second behind, claiming fifth. The Heavyweight B finished ninth, the C 10th, and D 21st. The Lightweight B finished in 12th.

The Radcliffe heavyweight novice finished 25th overall and first among the other novices, while the lightweight novice took 27th overall and third for the amateurs.

The final race of the day was the women’s four, which only had three boats. Boston University placed first, rowing the course in 15:58, next the Radcliffe lightweights in 16:25, and finally the Radcliffe heavyweight novices in 18:27.

Sophomores Ava Sack and Ryan Swastrom rowed in the Lightweight A eight boat.

“The Foot of the Charles was a way to show how we could compete in an open weight category, so we were really excited to show our speed there and how we’ve worked on improvements throughout the season,” Sack said.

“We were just focusing this season on being positive and getting our feet back on the ground,” Swastrom added. “It was exciting to show how much improvement we’ve made and we’re going to keep getting faster for next season.”


The Foot of the Charles marked the official end to all four of the Harvard and Radcliffe teams’ fall seasons. As the semester comes to an end, they continue to train and prepare for their primary spring seasons. At the end of winter recess, they will all embark on a training trip to Sarasota, Fla.

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