Rowing competes in Head of the Charles
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 00:10
This weekend marks the second regatta of the season for the UConn women’s rowing team, which will take place at the Head of the Charles in Boston. The Head of the Charles regatta has been around since 1965 and is a two-day event that features over 9,000 participants. This is, in fact, the world’s largest two-day rowing event, as competitors from all around the world come to compete in 55 different race events.
“From the athlete’s standpoint [the Head of the Charles] is the highpoint of the fall racing season,” coach Jennifer Stanford Wendry said. “This race is also the time that our Varsity eight will be racing directly against national teams from various countries along with the top collegiate teams in the country.” With over 300,000 spectators expected to be in attendance, UConn has a chance to show their improvement and compete against some of the best boats in the world.
In rowing, the boat is led by a coxswain who is in charge of the boat, as they use verbal commands to tell the rowers about navigation, steering, speed, timing and fluidity. The main job of the coxswain is to ensure the safety of the rowers in the boat and motivating the rowers as well as steering straight to minimize the distance of the race.
The Head of the Charles, according to Wendry, is a “coxswain’s race.”
“There are many twists and turns in the Charles River course and a boats ability to succeed ultimately falls in the hands of the coxswains,” Wendry said. “[…] If a coxswain steers the course perfectly the results will show and the crew will be happy with where they place. ”
Following their first regatta of the year, the Huskies can use the Head of the Charles as a measuring stick to see where they are at this year. When talking to captain Chelsea Zabel about her nerves this week she said that, she is “actually more nervous for this race because it is our biggest fall race. Head of the Charles in Boston is the biggest regatta we go to in the fall. We race right on the Charles River in the heart of Boston and the atmosphere is amazing.”
Nerves should not be a factor this weekend though as the Huskies have been working harder than ever.
In regards to their work ethic she noted that, “All our boats have been prepping this week – up earlier than usual to keep our line ups so we can have ultimate teamwork and movement together on Saturday, weight training, swinging out on the indoor rowing machines, boat dinners, coaches meetings. We’re ready to compete.”
Coach Wendry also felt very confident about this week of practice as she said, “We've had some great practices lately so a perfectly steered course matched up with our crews rowing as well as they have in practice will produce great results.”