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MIT Crews Fare Well in Head of the Charles Regatta

By Brian Richter


MIT’s four rowing squads fared well in this weekend’s Head of the Charles Regatta. Each of the squads--heavyweight men, lightweight women, lightweight men, and open weight women--bested its performance relative to last year’s field.

The heavyweight men found themselves in front of the pack in the Championship Four event. The lightweight women moved up several places to become the fourth collegiate finisher in their event. The lightweight men finished one place in front of league rival Georgetown, which MIT lost to last fall in the event. And the open weight women finished several places higher in the Club Eight event than last year.

Heavyweight Men’s Varsity

The heavyweight men’s entry in the Championship Four--Nicholas K. Abercrombie ’03 (stroke), Joshua G. Kubit ’03, Collins P. Ward ’03, Brian K. Richter ’02, and Jonathan L. Berkow ’03 (cox)--did not know what to expect coming into this weekends race. Although they had won the Head of the Ohio regatta two weeks earlier in Pittsburgh, the team faced a typically strong Head of the Charles field. This year the competition featured boats from five countries, including Australia and teams from all of the top North American collegiate crews.

Because MIT had not entered the Championship Four in previous years, the boat started towards the back of the pack, behind Yale. The Beavers kept a tight margin on the Elis through the first half of the course, although they lost a little ground in the last half of the course to finish in 17:11.

The Beavers placed sixth among collegiate crews and thirteenth overall, managing to beat cross-town and league rivals, Northeastern and Boston University. The Beavers beat other league rivals Syracuse and Rutgers as well.

Lightweight Women’s Varsity

Coming off of a very successful season last spring, the lightweight women had high expectations for this year’s Head. They raced well on Sunday, finishing 8th with a time of 18:02, almost a minute faster than their performance last year. Against the other colleges, the team finished fourth behind Wisconsin, Radcliffe, and Emory. The team was very excited to finish in front of Princeton, who won the National Championship last June.

The lightweights made up the most time in the last mile. “We managed to really pick up seconds coming around the 180 degree turn before Elliot Bridge,” said coxswain Nirupama S. Rao ’04.

“Bottom line, it felt great and now we are all hungry for more in the spring,” said Lesley D. Frame ’04.

Racing in MIT’s women's lightweight boat were coxswain Nirupama S. Rao ’04, Megan L. Galbraith G, Hillary K. Rolls ’02, Aditi Garg ’03, Chandra J. Claycamp ’03, Sarah K. Yenson ’03, Lesley D. Frame ’04, Emily M. Craparo ’02, and Julie E. Zeskind G.

Lightweight Men’s Varsity

The Varsity Boat raced in the Championship Lightweight Eight event on Sunday and, despite a raging headwind, posted one of their fastest times of the year with a 15:37.

Their lineup consisted of Eamon F. Walsh ’03, Eric A. Dauler ’02, Nodari S. Sitchinava ’02, Mark D. Laughter ’02, William J. Arora ’03, Michael T. Donohue ’03, Skip Dise ’03, Zachery A. Lavalley ’03, and Sandi S. Lin ’03.

MIT shaved over forty seconds off their time from last year, and finished in 12th place in a fiercely competitive field that was full of current and former national team rowers from around the world.

Openweight Women

MIT’s Heavyweight women finished 19th in a time of 18:13 in the Club Eights event on Saturday, up sixteen places from their 35th place time last year.

Other Crews

The heavyweight men’s and lightweight men’s JV boats raced in the Club Eight division on Saturday, and posted times of 16:29 and 16:53 to finish in the middle of the field of nearly 70 competitors.

From Bow to Stern, their boat consisted of Jeffrey Greenbaum ’04, Aadel A. Chaudhuri ’04, Atif Z. Qadir ’04, Jeffrey T. Loh ’03, Isaac M. Dinner ’02, Michael P. Farry ’04, John C. Ho ’02, Luke Schulenberger ’02, and Shana L. Diez ’02.

“We had an amazing sprint at the end our race when we rowed right through the Rowing Club Eight and managed to pull off a record time,” said Ho.

MIT also entered a Men’s Youth (Freshmen Eight) and a Women’s Youth (Freshmen Eight). Both of these crews got to test their speed for the first time against other major collegiate crews.

Also featured in the regatta were several MIT alumni and some boats from the graduate student Sloan Crew.

Notably, MIT alum and US National Team sculler, Steve Tucker, finished second in the Championship Single event ahead of the German sculler and behind the Olympic bronze medalist from Australia.

MIT’s Heavyweight and Lightweight Men next compete at the Tail of the Charles Regatta on November 17, where they hope to capitalize on their work this fall and over the summer.

Hillary Rolls and Mike Donohue contributed to the reporting of this story.