Head of the Charles up next for UMass

By Neil Carroll

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This weekend, the University of Massachusetts crew team travels 90 miles east on the Massachusetts Turnpike to take part in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, which is the most important race the Minutewomen will compete in this year.

In the biggest race for UMass this weekend, sophomore Julia Richter represents the Minutewomen in the singles race. Richter finished third in her singles race last week at the Head of the Housatonic Regatta in Derby, Conn.

“I’m excited for Julia,” said head coach Jim Dietz. “She is a world class athlete, and has already competed at a world class level.”

UMass will also enter boats in the lightweight eight and open-weight eight. Also, head coach Jim Dietz will race in the Veteran Singles race, and assistant coach Laura Simon will be a coxswain in the Alumni eight.

In the Regatta, the Minutewomen compete against members of some of the most prestigious collegiate crew teams in the country as well as members of some high-profile national rowing teams. Even if UMass comes home without placing in the top three in any race, Dietz still believes the team can gain valuable experience in Boston.

“College kids like ours are going to be able to see the best in the world rowing,” Dietz said. “Granted we’re UMass out of the ‘small Atlantic-10’, the gals are going to be able to see some of the best racers in the world. And if you wanna be the best, you gotta see what the best look like.”

The Head of the Charles Regatta is the largest two-day crew event in the world. Over 7,500 athletes from around the world compete in the 55 events hosted on the Charles.

This weekend’s race marks the 45th annual Head of the Charles, which the Cambridge Boat Club hosts on the river that divides Cambridge from Boston. Last year, the race drew a crowd of 300,000 people to the riverbanks. 

Coach Dietz is happy about his team’s progress so far this fall, but similar to his sentiments after the Head of the Housatonic, he said that this week’s race will be a learning experience.

“I think that the girls have been training really hard,” said Coach Dietz of his team’s mentality. “I think they’re excited to race, but they’re aware that while we’re working hard, this isn’t our season. Our focus is more long-term.”

Even if they come home empty-handed, the UMass rowing team has the opportunity to witness some of the most celebrated rowers in the world converge on the same waters that they will compete in.

Neil Carroll can be reached at [email protected]