The Massachusetts rowing team had the unique opportunity to race in the Head of the Charles Regatta this past weekend in Boston, competing in the world’s largest two-day race which hosts over 9,000 competitors and more than 300,000 fans.
The Minutewomen had five boats race in both days of the regatta and had much better results in this year’s race than last year, according to UMass coach Jim Dietz.
This year, the lightweight fours boat comprised of coxswain Emily Hajjar, Allanah Rubi-Mooney, Nicole Juul-Hindsgaul Emily Mann and Taryn Wilson finished in second place with a time of 19:59:851. That was over 10 seconds better than last year’s time of 20:10:281, which put them in seventh place.
“I had a sense that [they] were our fastest boat,” Dietz said of the lightweight fours. “Those that trained during the summer were the ones that were successful this weekend.”
The validity Dietz’s previous statement also was evident as the club eight boat finished eighth out of a field of 29. However, the boat was merely “tenths of a second out of fifth place,” said Dietz, who made it clear that unchangeable variables such as the course being “very serpentine, having seven bridges and being stuck behind slower boats” prevented the club eight boat from finishing even higher.
The Minutewomen also had rowers in the Championship Fours race, which is made up of the nation’s top rowers from US Rowing, Brown University and Canadian rowing powerhouse Western University. Despite the UMass’ championship four boat finishing last, Dietz noted that he was proud of his girls because “you want to see that your athletes are coming out and racing.” He believes that the experience that the Head of the Charles will make “next season fabulous for them.”
The final two boats that raced for the Minutewomen were the championship single and double. In the single was Claudia Caballero Larco. Larco finished 23th overall after being plagued by two buoy penalties that cost her 15 seconds near the Newell Boathouse. Had Larco finished the race without being penalized, she would have likely finished 20th.
This year was the first year that UMass had a boat entered in the championship double race. Laura St. Pierre and Marika Kopp finished 17th out of a field of 20 and posted a final time of 20:05:854.
Dietz was satisfied with the way his team performed this weekend despite going up against some of the “top talent in the world,” he said.
Dierz said that most Atlantic 10 teams only have one entry in the Head of the Charles, but UMass has five, which he said made for a “very valuable experience.”
“Seeing the A-10 competing this early in the year was invaluable,” Dietz said.
The Minutewomen will travel to the Head of the Fish Regatta in Saratoga, N.Y., on Saturday as they look to use their momentum from the Head of the Charles to be successful in New York.
Matthew Zackman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.