Oct. 18, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
Renowned as the largest two-day rowing competition in the world, the Head of the Charles Regatta celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend on the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For the fourth straight year the University of Notre Dame rowing team will make the voyage to the regatta, this time with more competitors than in past regatta starts.
By virtue of the pre-competition lottery process to determine entries, the Irish secured three bids into the 2014 Head of the Charles. One Notre Dame crew will race in the women’s championship four on Sunday, while two Irish entries will compete in the women’s championship eight later in the day.
“I think that us taking three boats allows more people to travel and experience what is really a rowing event, you can almost say it’s a celebration of rowing,” Notre Dame head coach Martin Stone said. “This year is special, it’s the 50th anniversary of the Charles. I think more people will also be able to see very fast crews at optimum speed. We have a four in the championship four, we have two eights in the championship eight, and that will have many of the fastest teams in the world. For the group to go out and, maybe more so for those who haven’t been involved in rowing for that long and were walk-ons, they can see just how large rowing can be.
“It’s two days of solid racing on the Charles River in Boston, and most of the streets neighboring it are shut down for a rowing event,” Stone added. “You see that wow, this is a huge deal, much larger than going up and down the St. Joe River. There will be many legendary rowers out on the race course.”
Highlighting the defending world champion United States women’s championship eight team that the two Notre Dame entries will race against on Sunday are a pair of former Irish All-Americans. Molly Bruggeman
, who graduated this spring as a three-time Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Pocock All-America selection, will row in the stroke seat for the U.S. eight. Four-time All-American Amanda Polk (’08) will row in the four seat in the championship eight crew.
“It’s pretty special and unique in rowing that our team can say they raced the reigning world champions in October,” Stone said. “The U.S. eight won the championship at the end of August, so that is pretty cool. Not to mention that the Cambridge Boat Club has some of the best women’s scullers in the world as an all-star boat. Then you have Virginia, Yale, us, Michigan, Wisconsin, Harvard, Princeton, quite a few at the top end of speed are there.”
The opportunity to see so many quality opponents, all in one day of racing, is not lost on the Notre Dame team.
“I think it’s something unique to rowing, and I’m not sure other teams are going out and playing the very best of the best in their sport,” Stone said. “We have that opportunity in front of a huge fan base, between 100,000 and 150,000 people will watch the rowing over the weekend. It’s going to be pretty neat.”
Many of the Notre Dame qualifiers for this year’s Head of the Charles will make their first ever appearance in the regatta. The entire Irish second championship eight boat, for instance, are all rookies in the race field. Using the platform to provide practical experience against elite competition is something that Stone feels can help set the tone for the remainder of the fall training season.
“There are so many variables, but I think we just want to try and make sure we’re rowing the best races that we possibly can,” Stone said. “We need to establish good rhythm early and try to go fast and pull hard all the way down. If there’s a disruption in rhythm on a turn, or we’re stuck at a bridge, anything like that, you kind of have to work to get away from it.”
Live results from the 50th Head of the Charles Regatta will be available via Regattamaster.com
50th Head of the Charles Regatta
Expected Notre Dame Sunday Boating Lineups
Women’s Championship Four
Women’s Championship Eight