Last Sunday, men’s crew accomplished an unprecedented feat in its program’s history when it claimed its second consecutive Head of the Charles title. Forgoing the festivities of Mountain Day back in Williamstown, the men’s 1-V drove to the Head of the Charles Regatta, the largest rowing event in the world. Unfortunately, the 2-V could not participate because of a paper work error.
As the trailer was unloaded, a strange omen appeared: a large bird of prey, perhaps an owl, grasping a squirrel, flew over the crew’s heads, indicating that surely something momentous would happen that day.
Headed into the race, the 1V knew it had a target on its back; the team had bested reigning Trinity by barely a second last year, so the rival Bantams squad had nothing else on their minds but regaining victory.
The race soon began, and the teams battled back and forth; Trinity would inch up, then Williams would pull away. Williams gained much of its energy from the support of onlookers on shore. “There was amazing support from the fans,” captain Cameron Skinner ’10 said. “We heard cowbells and cheers for Williams at just about every bridge over the three-mile course. It certainly helped to give us that little push needed in the difficult sections.”
With just a few hundred meters left, the Eph crew fought back. “Slightly behind in the final 2:30 of the race, at the brink of collapse, we trusted ourselves and each other to reach further into the abyss of pain and orchestrate a medal winning sprint,” Nathaniel Lim ’11 said, reflecting on the moment.
Williams widened its lead through to the finish. Just as flurries began descending from the clouds, the boat secured victory. “They really gave us a scare with their big push early on, but with our experience from winning a year ago, we backed ourselves and stayed strong through the body, allowing us to walk away during the powerhouse and pull off a great sprint,” Dan Costanza ’11 said.
The Williams and Trinity Boats dominated the field, outdistancing all the other boats by around 20 seconds, turning the event into essentially a duel race.
The Head of the Charles followed a third place finish at the Head of the Housatonic the week before. The novice crew will be given the opportunity to race at next weekend’s Head of the Fish Regatta which will conclude men’s crew’s fall season.