BOSTON, MA – Williams women's crew had a commanding performance at the 51st Annual Head of the Charles in Boston. Both the 1V and the 2V competed in the women's collegiate eight event at the world's largest two-day regatta. The collegiate eight event includes a combination of Division II and III crews, including perennial rivals Trinity, Bates, and Wellesley.
The 1V finished 1st with a time of 17:25.57 and the 2V finished 20th with a time of 19:01.23. This podium finish broke a four-year dry spell for the Ephs, who have not taken gold at the Head of the Charles since 2011.
The first varsity eight started with bow number 8, reflecting their finish last year. They quickly overtook Rochester Institute of Technology, who started in front of them. This aggressive start paid off, as the Ephs had the fastest splits in the first three sections of the course. By the halfway mark, they were leading by five seconds over second-place Mercyhurst. By the finish line, they had passed three boats and led by seven seconds over the rest of the field.
"We came out ready to go hard in the first half of the race," commented junior six-seat Emory Strawn. "We really dialed into the hive mind throughout the powerhouse stretch and that internal focus enabled us to find an effective and fast rhythm."
The first varsity eight included seniors Katie Costantini, Sophia Jannetty, and Annie Tewksbury; juniors Gemma Holt and Emory Strawn; sophomores Louisa Abel, Clara Beery, and Bertie Miller; and freshman Eileen Russell.
The second varsity eight, starting with bow number 20, also had an aggressive start to the race. Their first split was six seconds faster than the University of Vermont, who started directly in front of them. The 2V is a relatively young boat and it was the first time any of the nine athletes had raced at the Charles.
"Today we were faced with many challenges but our primarily underclassmen boat gave an incredible effort," remarked freshman three-seat Julia Mini. "We have learned some lessons and set goals for the next two weeks before the Head of the Fish and winter training. I was so excited to row with this group of strong women for everyone's first time on the Charles and I am honored to share that memory with my boatmates!"
The second varisty eight included senior Bety Lopez; sophomores Brittany Chung, Ria Hansen, Rachel Jones, and Emily Saulnier; and freshmen Mikhayla Armstrong, Caroline Kessler, Diana Matthiessen, and Julia Mini.
The Head of the Charles also saw the return of alumni spanning two decades. The alums raced Saturday, finishing 24th and earning an automatic requalification for next year. They stayed to support the team Sunday, ensuring that every bridge was packed with fans cheering "Go Williams!"
The women will next race on Saturday, October 31st at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs, New York. This regatta will be the last fall race for the team and will include the squad of novice women. Both teams are excited to demonstrate what they have learned this season and end the season with strong performances across the board.