CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – This coming weekend the MIT varsity crews will kick off the fall portion of their season with one of the biggest competitions of the year, the historic Head of the Charles regatta. With more than 8,000 athletes from around the world competing in 55 different events, the Head of the Charles is the world's largest, two-day rowing event. It attracts up to 300,000 spectators to Boston and Cambridge.
The Head of the Charles was established by the Cambridge Boat Club, based on the tradition of "head of the river" races run in England, and was first raced on October 16, 1965. As with most other "head" races, it covers a three-mile course and boats race against the clock, starting in queue approximately 15 seconds apart.
The MIT Pierce Boathouse is one of several host facilities for the Head of the Charles Regatta. Many guests will boat out of MIT, including crews from all over the United States and several from England.
After two years of disappointing finishes in the Head of the Charles, MIT's heavyweight men will field a talented crew of mostly sophomores and freshmen this year to compete in the Championship Eights event. "We have more depth than in the past, which allows us to also have a 'B' boat entered in the Collegiate Eights race," remarks Tony Kilbridge, the H.W. McCurdy (1922) Men's Varsity Heavyweight Coach. "I am confident that this group has the speed to improve on our recent performances. More importantly, they have the talent to form the core of a good crew for the next several years."
Tech's lightweight men will race their top eight in the Lightweight Eights event, with their second boat racing in the Club Eights event. Second-year head coach Will Oliver is "extremely excited to see how our performance stacks up against last year's. We have brought in a number of strong athletes since last season who are already adding to our squad's speed. We expect to see a stronger row in the Lightweight Eight this year as well as a solid performance from our Club Eight."
The openweight women are once again racing two eights; the top crew is in the Championship Eights, and the second boat is in the Club Eights. "This is the fittest and fastest I have seen this squad since I've been at MIT," notes head coach Holly Metcalf. "It's a very challenging field, but our depth, fitness, and competitive spirit are all better than ever. The team is ready and eager to race - it should be fun to watch!"
The lightweight women's varsity eight line-up returns four athletes from the 2011 IRA varsity eight for this year's Head of the Charles Regatta, including coxswain Emily Chen (Nashua, N.H.), Elizabeth Wei (Cincinnati, Ohio), Meredith Lis (Arden Hills, Minn.) and Lauren Ayers (Portland, Maine). Nidhi Kulkarni (Franklin Park, N.J.), returns to the lineup after a year abroad, while Meghan Torrence (Sewickley, Pa.), Sara Huang (La Jolla, Calif.), Lauren McGough (Quincy, Mass.), and Amelia Mockett (Seattle, Wash.) round out the lineup in their collegiate Head of the Charles debut. For Lis, a senior, the race will mark her fourth consecutive year in the Lightweight Eights event for the Engineers.
The schedule for MIT's varsity crews in the Head of the Charles is listed below. A full schedule for the weekend and more information about the event can also be found at the official site, here.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
1:11 p.m. - Men's Club Eights - Bow #23 (Lightweight Men JV8)
1:26 p.m. - Women's Club Eights - Bow #13 (Openweight Women JV8)
Sunday, October 23, 2011
2:45 p.m. - Men's Championship Eights - Bow #29 (Heavyweight Men V8)
2:58 p.m. - Women's Championship Eights - Bow #37 (Openweight Women V8)
3:28 p.m. - Men's Collegiate Eights - Bow #33 (Heavyweight Men JV8)
4:27 p.m. - Men's Lightweight Eights - Bow #13 (Lightweight Men V8)
4:35 p.m. - Women's Lightweight Eights - Bow #7 (Lightweight Women V8)
Men's Heavyweight - Championship 8 (Bow #29)
Men's Heavyweight - Collegiate 8 (Bow #33)
Men's Lightweight 8 (Bow #13)
Men's Lightweight - Club 8 (Bow #23)
Women's Openweight - Championship 8 (Bow #37)
Women's Openweight - Club 8 (Bow #13)
Women's Lightweight 8 (Bow #7)