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"Freshman Frolic" is Head preview

By Ben Y. Reis

The MIT Boathouse held its fifth annual "Freshman Frolic" last Friday, Oct. 11. Eleven boats, consisting of 99 men and women rowers (about 10 percent of the freshmen class), raced a short, yet grueling, two-mile course.

As the boats positioned themselves on the starting line, Assistant Freshmen Lightweight Coach Greg Barringer sang the national anthem through his megaphone. Freshman Lightweight Coach Mike Welch then gave the signal for each boat to start.

The freshmen then raced from the Science Museum to the Longfellow and Harvard Bridges, and then back to the Boathouse, where a crowd of 50 spectators cheered them on to the finish. All the rowers then came upstairs for a pizza and soda cooldown.

Freshman Heavyweight Coach Stu Schmill '86, who founded the event in 1987, commented that the caliber of rowing was much higher than he expected for students who had only been rowing for such a short time: "We usually don't get started this early in the year. . . . It surprised me how well it went." The freshman heavyweights had only been out on the water for less than one week before the race.

The winning boat of the first heat, which finished at about 4:30 pm, included freshmen Jorey Ramer (coxwain), Wade Samec, Alex Peterson, John Paschkewitz, Holly Imlach, Jeff Temple, Rich Domonkos, Robert Grimm and Raj Prabhakar as the rowers. Their time, after adjustments due to equipment failure, was 9:38, a very good row.

Schmill said the event was "a lot of fun," and that he hopes to have a similar one with a Halloween twist in two weeks on Nov. 1, when each boat will be asked to wear their own costume.

The second heat, at 6 pm, was raced under worse conditions, with a stronger wind, and wavier waters. The first boat, which came from behind to win with a time of 10:11, had freshmen Shannon Coen (coxwain), Rick Boardman, Josephine Harada, Ben Jordan, Clara Yang, Fouad Saad, Rebeca Leodardson, Luis Uribarri and Lizette Arce.

On Sunday, MIT will participate in the 27th annual Head of the Charles Regatta on the banks of the Charles River. The event will feature crews from schools around the country and all over the world. The boats will start at the BU Bridge and will head inland past Harvard.

Ben Y. Reis '95 is a member of the freshmen lightweight crew team.