Heavies finish in 11th place

by Kate Mulley | 10/28/04 5:00am

BOSTON, Oct. 24 -- During one of this city's biggest sports weekends in recent history, the Dartmouth heavyweights and lightweights traveled to the Head of the Charles Regatta with hopes of establishing themselves as forces to be reckoned with in the spring racing season. Race officials shortened the course on both days of racing because the wind and choppy water made the course difficult to row.

Both Dartmouth men's boats raced on Sunday afternoon, competing against fields that included international, collegiate and club crews. The lights finished 17th out of 21 in the lightweight eight event with a time of 11:57.95. The heavyweight eight finished 11th out of 37 in the championship eight race with a time of 11:17.58.

The lightweight boat, sporting a new lineup, started its race strongly despite the uncomfortable conditions. As the boat approached a difficult turn under Weeks Bridge, they were able to hold off a reckless Delaware crew coming up behind them. The Delaware coxswain attempted to cut through the next bridge rather than going straight and collided oars with the Dartmouth eight, sandwiching them between the arch of the bridge and the Delaware boat.

"While tangled, many of the Delaware rowers recklessly started flailing their oar handles back and forth, and as a result hit many of the Dartmouth rowers," lightweight coxswain Shivani Parmar '05 explained.

Dartmouth was able to pass Delaware when they slowed down after catching a crab later in the race. Dartmouth finished ahead of the Holy Cross crew that bested them at the New Hampshire Championships last week, but the collision with Delaware pushed them back from their Ivy and other spring season competition.

"We had some really good strokes," captain Luke Gilroy '05 noted, "but we need to learn how to do it every time, regardless of the conditions we're rowing in."

The lightweight men have a week off before heading down to New Jersey for the Princeton Chase Nov. 6. "We definitely look forward to a clean quick race down at Princeton," lightweight four-seat Jon Kroft '07 expressed. "[The Princeton Chase] should hopefully provide us with an accurate assessment of our work during the summer and the fall."

Competing in a line-up comprised of eight senior rowers, the heavyweight eight raced to their best finish in the Head of the Charles since the fall of 2000 when Dartmouth came in seventh. Dartmouth finished ahead of Ivy rivals Brown and Harvard this year despite the shortened course. Because of the focus on longer steady state work in the fall, the heavyweight squad was better prepared for a three-mile race than a 2.3-mile race.

"We are confident that the type of training we are doing is more beneficial in the long run and that we can catch many if not all of the schools that beat us today," Dartmouth five-seat Joe Gwin '05 said.

The heavyweights benefited, however, from an uneventful race on what is a particularly difficult head course to steer. Coxswain Kate Johnson '06 had raced at the Head of the Charles four times before Sunday and said that she was comfortable with the course, despite the challenge that it always presents. With a cleanly steered course and a well-executed race plan, the team left Boston pleased with the potential that their race exhibited.

"This race showed us that there is no team that is out of our reach for the spring," Don Wyper '05, six-seat of the heavyweight boat, said. "Now we need to go into the winter season and hit the ergs and weights harder than the rest of the league."