The XXXIV Annual Head of the Charles Regatta, one of the biggest and most famous crew gatherings of the year, took place in Boston this weekend. Amidst Division I programs, former Olympic athletes, and international teams, Williams College was well represented.
The Women’s Varsity team took two eights to the regatta, racing in the Club and Championship eight events. Williams also had an entry in the Championship singles event, rowed by Elizabeth (Biz) Smith, ’01.
The weekend began with the Women’s Club eight (Randy Lewis ’03, Anna Crowley ’03, Maya Garcia ’02, Liz MyGatt ’03, Danielle Tarantolo ’01, Anne Rutherford ’03, Kimmie Kemper ’03 and stroke Becca Parker-Johnson ’02, with cox Binney McCague ’03). The crew was the fifth boat to start, in the midst of top crews from around the world, and showed excellent composure throughout the race. Unfortunately, in a gutsy and aggressive attempt to steer along the shortest course possible, the boat just missed two buoys; as the boat’s bow ball skimmed past the buoys, both barely bounced to the wrong side of the boat, causing the boat to be slightly outside the course. The addition of a one minute and twenty second time penalty pushed the crew back from their 28th place finish to a final place of 60th.
On Sunday, Williams launched their top eight in the Championship Eights event. Williams entered the event with the best seed in their history, starting the race twentieth. The US Naval Academy was just ahead of Williams; Kansas State University was just behind. The women (Kristin Wikelius ’01, Celina Zlotoff ’01, Emma Herries ’03, Kathryn Hibbert ’02, Laura Spero ’02, Rachael De Souza ’03, Heather Barney ’01 and stroke Shoshana Clark ’02, with cox Emilie Mathieu ’02) chased Navy along the stretch of the river, and successfully held off Kansas State for the majority of the race. Additionally, the Williams Crew rowed through the 1980 Olympic reunion boat in the final turn of the race. The 1980 Olympians, including Williams alum Nancy Storrs, beat Williams by a sizable margin last year. The Championship eight finished thirty-third in a field of over 60 crews.
Biz Smith ’01 represented Williams in the Championship singles this weekend, her first appearance in purple and gold since her return from the Sydney Olympics. Smith steered a clean course and passed the rower in front of her; she finished in the top ten, but time penalties pushed her back to seventeenth. Among those racing against Smith was the 2000 Olympic gold medallist in the women’s single.
Other notables of the weekend were Williams parents who competed in the regatta: Kathy Kemper, mother of Kimmie Kemper ’03, raced in the Masters Singles and placed an impressive second. Also, Don Spero, father of Laura Spero ’02, raced in the Masters eights event. The women’s coach, Justin Moore, also raced this weekend, filling a spot on the men’s team due to injury.