Despite the wet and dreary weather in Boston this past Sunday, women’s crew managed to heat things up quite a bit as it powered its way down the three-mile course at the notorious Head of the Charles Regatta. As the only team with two boats registered in the Collegiate Eights event, Williams managed to place its first and second boat in second and third place respectively. Grand Valley State University of Allendale, Michigan claimed the victory.
Based off their finishes from last year, the two Williams boats started first and forth, with Bates and Trinity between them.
“The gusty head wind in the first stretch made for difficult conditions, but luckily we had seen much worse on our home course in practice” said co-captain Julia Haltermann ’10. “It is a challenge to be the first boat off [the starting line], but I think our boat met the challenge and responded well.” With no one out ahead of them to catch, both coxswain and rowers appealed to their inner grit and fitness as they raced against the clock.
The 2-V also pulled ahead of Trinity in the first mile of the race.
“It was so exciting when we heard our coxswain telling us how close we were to Trinity,” said Sydney Tooze ’12. “After that, all we could think about was Bates and whether or not we could catch up to them as well.”
And catch up they did, largely thanks to the maneuvering of coxswain Fiona Wilkes ’12. Wilkes managed to catch the inside of a crucial turn in the last stretch of the race, bringing her boat even with Bates. As the two boats approached the Eliot Bridge, Wilkes called for yet another major push, during which the crew pulled out ahead of Bates as the two boats went under the bridge. The move allowed Wilkes an open river in which to steer her boat straight to the finish line to finish directly behind the 1V.
“Sunday was a proud day for the entire Williams program,” said Haltermann on the event as a whole. “The Head of the Charles is a prestigious event with great competition, and in all Williams boats, it was met with readiness and aggression, both of which paid off.”
The strong overall finish came on the heels of an impressive showing at the Head of the Housatonic on Oct. 10. The 1-V raced Div. I at the event and claimed fourth behind three boats from Yale, while the 2-V snagged first in the Div. III race.
The women will compete in the Head of the Fish Regatta this weekend, giving the novices a chance to compete.