Women’s, lightweight and heavyweight rowing seek improvement after the 2022 Head of the Charles

On Oct. 22 and 23, Big Green rowing teams competed in the historic Head of the Charles. After a disappointing finish for women’s and lightweight crews, and a worse than last year’s finish for heavies, team captains implied there is work to be done.

by Chris Scanlon | 11/7/22 1:00am

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Source: Courtesy of Miles Bender

Women’s rowing finished 11th out of 14 crews in the Championship fours and 26th out of 29 crews in the Championship Eights. Although men’s lightweight rowing had notable success in the singles and doubles competition, Dartmouth placed 14th out of 16 in the Lightweight 4+ and 10th out of 15 in the Lightweight 8+.  Despite fierce competition, heavyweight rowing saw the most potential in their A entry of Championship Eights raced a time of 13:45.806, placing ninth out of 25 crews. The heavies’ Championship Eights B entry were behind at 14:02.953, finishing 15th.  

Opening the season on Saturday, Dartmouth women’s rowing participated in the club fours and club eights, finishing 12th out of 49 and 11th out of 40, respectively. The women’s club fours consisted of Jessie Duckworth, Katherine Figura, Katherine Lynch and , Charlotte Pukkinen, , and coxed by Aarushi Jaim. The club eights boat sat Jenna Martin, Haley Leversedge, Cece Plass, Margaret Moreland, Aine Ley, Audrey Craighead, Lucy Handy and, Marlene Lauter,  and coxed by MC Hadley. 

After executing their race plans well on day one, the group hoped to continue the strong start in the following day’s championship races, which included the top collegiate women’s crews and national team boats from countries across the globe. 

However, captain Jessie Duckworth ’23 said that the team was disappointed with their performance, as they took 11th out of 14 in championship fours and 26th out of 29 in championship eights. 

“We all were pretty disappointed with how we came out in relation to other people, especially in the Ivy League,” Duckworth said. “There's a lot of work to be done.”

Lightweight rowing started off Saturday with strong individual performances. Notably, Cooper Tuckerman ’22 placed second in the championship singles with a time of 18:04.60 and finished as the event’s best domestic rower. In a highly competitive heat, Jack Stone ’23 and Jack Costello ’22 earned a top-half finish in Championship Doubles. 

However, the team's young roster faltered in the lightweight fours and lightweight eights, placing 14th out of 16 and 10th out of 15, respectively. While discussing the group's performance, Stone said that many members of lightweight rowing have elected their off term for the fall, resulting in younger rowers filling the role of their upperclassmen counterparts. Because of this, half of the seats in the championship eight boat were first years. 

“Although our performance wasn't stellar, we’re pretty excited to see — once we get the full squad training together again — how we can make things happen and improve throughout the year,” Stone said. 

After an impressive 2021-2022 season, placing fifth overall in the IRA championship,  the heavyweight rowing team sought to keep their successful momentum going at the Head Of The Charles. Entering two boats into both men’s club eights and championship eights, the team boasted several strong performances. 

On Saturday, in the club eights, the Big Green’s A entry finished fifth, and the B entry placed ninth out of 39 crews. In Sunday’s championship races, Dartmouth’s A entry earned ninth while its B entry finished 15th out of 25 — the third fastest finish among second varsity boats. 

Despite the team’s solid performance, fifth-year captain Issac Spokes ’22 said that the team was disappointed with their results, especially in comparison with the 2021-2022 season. Last year, Dartmouth placed third out of 44 teams in the club fours and 10th in a pool of 35 teams in the club eights. 

“Our performance this past weekend was a little worse than last year, so at first, it was a little disheartening,” Spokes said. “But our coach pointed out that most of the teams that we want to be in competition with in the spring are within striking distance.” 

Like lightweight rowing, the heavies are a young team who graduated a large number of fifth-years and seniors at the end of last season. Spokes said that he believes his team needs the time between fall and spring season to be able to mature to Dartmouth’s peak potential. 

“We want to be able to beat [Brown University] on their own river,” Spokes said. “We want to be close with [Yale University], ideally, maybe even beat them.”

With the celebratory Dartmouth Gardner Cup having taken place on Saturday — a tradition which dates back to 1873, according to the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing website — the Big Green crew ends the fall term with hopes to build momentum throughout  the winter and steadily prepare for a strong spring season. 

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