Head of the Charles 2023
More than 11,000 athletes and 200,000 spectators from across the globe gathered in Cambridge this weekend for the 58th annual Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event.
While most of the Harvard men’s heavyweight crew team is preparing for the Head of the Charles Regatta, one of the Crimson’s oarsmen will be watching from across the Pond as he trains for another race, one almost a year away –– the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“My heart is on fire.” That’s what 2012 Olympic gold-medalist and European champion Natliia Dovgodko described when asked how she feels heading into the 2023 Head of the Charles Regatta to represent her home country, Ukraine.
One of the most unique parts of Harvard Crew is a culture of walk ons. There are very few sports where athletes are encouraged to start anew in college, and join a varsity team in a sport they’ve never played before. Rowing is one of those sports. Many of the first-year class are encouraged to join the “novice” program, and commit to weeks of grueling workouts with the hopes of joining the team.
Since the completion of Weld’s renovation, construction has begun on Newell Boathouse, which houses the Crimson’s men’s rowing teams. Newell Boathouse, constructed in 1900 as a gift from the Harvard Club of New York, mirrors Weld on the other side of the river, closer to Harvard’s athletic facilities. Amidst the Newell renovations, all four varsity teams currently share Weld’s new facilities.
The Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) is a unique race that occurs once a year, bringing together tens of thousands of people to Harvard Square to watch some of the most talented rowers in the world. Even though the actual crew season takes place in the spring, every athlete regards this race as the second-most important of the season, behind only nationals.
As Harvard women’s heavyweight rowing enters its 2023 season and the historic Head of the Charles Regatta approaches, Claire Ochal begins her first year as head coach of the team. Ochal replaces previous head coach Liz O’Leary, who had an incredible 37-year impact on Crimson heavyweight rowing.