Rowing teams post solid performances at Head of Charles

by Henry Arndt | 10/21/15 6:01pm

The men’s heavyweight and lightweight and women’s rowing teams kicked off their 2015-2016 season this past weekend at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts, providing the first glimpse of the teams in action as they head into their busy fall schedules.

Conditions for the weekend were fair and similar to the ones the team has encountered on the Charles River in the past, which allowed the boats to row in an environment they were prepared to encounter.

“The conditions were solid,” heavyweight rower Tommy Kiernan ’17 said. “I wouldn’t say they were challenging. They were the standard conditions at the Charles.”

The women posted their better result of the weekend in their first action on the Charles. Competing on Saturday, the women’s club eight finished 11th in their event in a field of 38 boats with a time of 17:51.180 in a 4800-meter race. Brown University took first place in the event with a time of 17:09.583, showing a gap between the Big Green and its stiff Ivy League competition.

The women’s championship eight boat competed the next day, taking 15th out of the 32 boats in competition. The women finished in 17:02.733, just four seconds ahead of 16th-place Clemson University. Brown took second, with Yale University coming in fifth. The Big Green’s 15th-place finish was its best at the Head of the Charles since 2011.

Overall, the women enjoyed a weekend of solid results that provide a platform for the team to build on moving forward. Achieving results quickly, however, is paramount for the Big Green in a fall season shortened by temperatures that plummet rapidly.

The men’s heavyweight team had three boats in action over the course of the weekend. The heavyweight club four highlighted all action for Dartmouth by taking fourth in a field of more than 50 boats. The club four finished the race in 17:28.418. One of the most positive indicators of the boat’s performance is the youth of the rowers. Of the four rowers, only one was a senior and the remaining three were all underclassmen. Union College won the club four event as the only team to break 17 minutes, finishing in 16:54.541.

“The four did really well,” heavyweight captain Jamie Billings ’16 said. “We were really excited about how highly they placed in their large field. Moving forward, I think we will see some improvements as we continue to work on our fitness.”

The heavyweight club eight also competed on Saturday and did its best to replicate the early success of the club four boat. The club eight took 13th in the event, completing the event in under 16 minutes at 15:51.233. The only Ivy League boats that finished ahead of Dartmouth were Brown and Harvard Universities. Brown took first place in the event with a time of 15:04.950, finishing the event almost 50 seconds before Dartmouth.

The heavyweight championship eight posted the team’s lowest finish of the weekend in its final event on Sunday. The championship eight finished the race in 15:15.634, the men’s fastest time of the weekend, but the performance was only good enough for 20th out of the 26 boats racing.

“Our results at the Charles highlighted the youth of our team and the fact that we have to improve in several ways,” men’s heavyweight head coach Wyatt Allen said. “We need to continue to improve technically, and most importantly, we have to be more competitive on the race course. We are rowing better than we were at this point last year.”

The men’s lightweight team only had one boat compete at the regatta. Featuring a championship eight boat with no seniors, the lightweights performed admirably, braving the competition to finish 11th out of 17 in the event. The lightweight rowers finished the race in 15:36.815.

All three rowing teams will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Princeton Chase in Princeton, New Jersey.