Boston, MA—On Sunday, the Williams Men's Crew sent three eights to race in the 50th Head of the Charles Regatta. Over 400,000 fans packed the banks of the Charles River this year to watch over 11,000 rowers compete.
Battling incredibly tough conditions similar to the previous two years year, the Eph men's crew pushed through to finish 7th, 19th and 40th. The Ephs competed in the collegiate eight event that brought 44 teams to race on the 4.8km course. Williams was fortunate to take three boats again this year after being the first team in history last year. This feat is in large part due to their consistent ability to place two boats in the top 20, earning an automatic qualifier.
The first varsity boat, with bow number 4, crossed the start line first into a strong headwind. The second varsity followed a few minutes behind at bow number 15, then the third varsity at bow number 22. In head races, teams are assigned a number based on the previous year's performance. Teams are then sent onto the course at around fifteen second intervals creating a time trial format race.
The first varsity started behind Virginia and in front of Wesleyan. The first varsity finished 7th behind Michigan, Hobart, Grand Valley, Virginia, Delaware and WPI, respectively. This put them ahead of the top New England competition, including Trinity, Bates, Boston College, and Wesleyan, but behind ECAC crews of Michgan and Hobart. This is in line with the results at the end of the 2014 spring season.
The Williams 1V came in at 15:41.1, the 2V at 16:01.3, and the 3V at 16:46.7. The gaps bewteen boats was fairly encouraging showing the depth of the team.
The second varsity had another solid outing receiving an automatic qualifier with their 19th place finish. The Williams 2V started behind Bates and ahead of Notre Dame. Though 19th place is on the lower end of the finishes in the last few years, the delta off the top crew by percent was the highest--again showing the increased depth of the field.
The third varsity finished 34th raw time, but was assesed a 1:00 penalty for failing to yield to a passing crew. This penalty dropped their place to 40th.
Of the 27 team members sent to represent the Ephs, 10 were seniors spread out accross the boats. Also present was a significant contingent of sophomores from last year's two successful frosh boats.
"All the boats went out and had some really competitive pieces," notes co-captain Peter Awad. "I think what today confirms is that the field is getting significantly faster around us and we have to put in some serious work to keep pace and then pull ahead of it. The good news is that we requalified two boats for next year, and our second and third boats are beating first boats from many of our competing schools. It was also great to get so many young sophomores and freshmen valuable racing experience in big races."
All three varsity boats will head to Princeton, NJ next week to face off against Division I competition as well as Virgina and Trinity. All of the freshmen will travel to Saratoga Springs, NY for the Head of the Fish.