Boston, MA/Lansing, MI
– After a month and a half of intense and arduous selection, the team split up for a weekend to compete at two separate regattas: The Head of the Grand at Michigan State, and the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
Teammates who demonstrated exceptional grit and hard work through the summer break and in team competitions this fall were selected to three top boats to represent U of M at HOCR – the Collegiate Men’s 8+, the Collegiate Men’s 4+, and the Club Men’s 4+. The boys descended on Boston midday Friday, along with much of the international rowing community – the Head of the Charles is being the largest regatta in the world. A contingent of Michigan Rowing Alumni were also present – entered in the Alumni 8+ and Club 4+ events.
The Head of the Charles run in a time trial format, starting in the blustery basin of the river. The next 3 miles consist of many perilous turns past 7 bridges and thousands of howling spectators. It is often dubbed “the coxswain’s race,” because in many cases, the skill and quick reactions of the swain throughout the hectic course will make or break the crew’s chances at success.
The alumni and Club 4+ raced Saturday, with pleasing results. The Alumni 8+ put out a forceful performance for 4th place, only seconds behind the University of Washington and Princeton alumni eights, two of the country’s premier D1 rowing programs. The four, seated 43rd in the race, improved an impressive 25 spots, finishing with the 18th fastest time. The alumni racing in the blew the dust off their oars and produced a very respectable 11th place finish.
On Sunday, the Collegiate 8+ managed to pull off 4th place behind a course record by Virginia in 1st. The result is nothing to scoff at, but it has certainly left the boys hungry for their upcoming encounter with the Hoos in Indiana at the Bald Eagle Invitational on Novemer 4th. The Collegiate 4+ closed out the weekend’s racing for Michigan with a 12-spot gain, from 20th seat to an 8th place finish. After that, it was time to pack up the trailer, eat cake for a couple team birthdays, and get on the road for the all-night drive home to Ann Arbor.
Meanwhile, back in Michigan, the rest of the team made their way to the Head of the Grand in Lansing. This was the first regatta attended by the full freshman squad, and a successful one at that. The freshmen swept all their events. On varsity’s side, the pairs race was won by the Wolverines, however some of the Spartan’s top athletes edged out a victory over our sophomores in the fours. Michigan’s third eight completed a standout weekend for the team by defeating MSU’s first eight by 4 seconds.
Overall it was another beautiful weekend of good, hard-fought racing in the books for the Maize ‘n’ Blue.