By Maegan White
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College rowing teams held their first home regatta of the year on the Chester River on Saturday, Oct. 8. This regatta consisted of a five kilometer head chase and a 750 meter sprint race.
For the 5K head race, a single boat is started and the following boats in the same category are sent out 15-60 seconds after, with the slowest boats being sent first and the fastest boats being sent last. The race is called a head chase because the faster boats are chasing after and trying to pass the slower boats that were started earlier. Winners are determined by fastest time from start to finish. For the sprint races, the boats for each division were sent at the same time.
The women’s novice eight started the regatta but did not compete against any other teams. This was their first race.
After the novice race, the women’s varsity four race began with two boats entered for the Shorewomen and one boat entered for the Shorewomen’s rivals Saint Mary’s College. St. Mary’s started first followed by WC-A boat then WC-B boat. The WC-A boat was able to overtake the St. Mary’s boat and finished two and a half minutes before their rivals, with a time of 26:29. The WC-B boat crossed the line in third place, 30 seconds behind St. Mary’s.
The varsity women’s eight race then went off, with St. Mary’s starting. The Shorewomen put up a tough fight but in the end were unable to overtake St. Mary’s and crossed the finish line second, 14 seconds behind their rivals.
The final five kilometer race was the men’s varsity eight. Catholic University started the race followed by the Shoremen and St. Mary’s. The Shoremen were able to hold off St. Mary’s but could not overtake Catholic and finished second.
After the 5K, the sprint 750 meter race began, starting with the varsity women four. The WC – A boat maintained an early lead while the WC-B and St. Mary’s boat battled for second. In the last 50 meters of the race, the second seat of WC-B caught a crab – this is when the oar gets stuck in the water and the rower loses control of the oar typically resulting in the entire boat having to stop and reset – and St. Mary’s took second.
The women’s eight sprint race was neck and neck until the last 100 meters, when St. Mary was able to pull ahead and beat the Shorewomen by three seconds. Similarly with the men’s eight sprint, the race was close, with Catholic finishing with a time of 2:48. St. Mary finished three seconds later and the Shoremen finished just one second behind St. Mary’s.
Senior captain Brooklyn Heran who rowed third seat in the Shorewomen varsity eight shared that this was the first time their line up raced together. “We have a lot to learn and a lot to do moving forward considering it was only our second race of the season, but it was exciting. Our goal for the fall is to work on skills and come together as a boat then go into the spring season and really show our power,” said Heran.
Additionally, the novice women made their first appearance in a competition at this race. Besides junior coxswain Kamden Richardson, all eight rowers in the boat picked up an oar for the first time just under a month ago.
As an experienced coxswain, Richardson offered to work with the novices and have been coxing them since before they even got in the water. She attended the novice afternoon practices in addition to the varsity morning practices to help them learn the stroke, lead them through different drills, and teach them what the sport truly was.
“The progress they have made from their first day of practice to them racing a 5K was really impressive,” Richardson said when reflecting on the race. “It’s very uncommon for novices to be able to race a 5K by the time of Head of the Chester, as they are still usually learning how to row all together. However… they did so by all eight’s the entire time which is also uncommon this early into their rowing careers… The entire team is so proud of them.”
Freshman novice Ella Kozlowski was in the third seat for the race and shared that just a month ago all the women in the boat didn’t even know how to hold an oar correctly. “I feel very good considering that none of us have done this before,” Kozlowski said. “All of us work together really well. I feel like from the beginning we were doing very well but the progress from then to now has been incredible.”
Both rowing teams first varsity boats will be competing in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass. on Saturday, Oct. 22.