The Drexel University men’s and women’s crew teams sent one boat each to compete at the 54th Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Oct. 20 and 21. The women competed in the women’s club eights event Oct. 20, and the men competed in the men’s collegiate eights event Oct. 21.
Over 2,300 entries from over 800 clubs and universities around the world come to compete at this regatta bringing more than 9,000 athletes and even more spectators. Beginning in 1965, the Head of the Charles Regatta is one of the largest regattas in the world. Athletes ranging from high school level, to collegiate, to masters and to Olympic level athletes compete in various events.
The race is three miles (4,800 meters) long. It begins at the Boston University boathouse and passes through four sets of bridges over the Charles River before ending near Northeastern University’s boathouse. One of the most troublesome spots on the course is the sharp bend in the river before Eliot Bridge, which is approximately 1,000 meters from the finish line. The turn features about a 180 degree turn for the crews to maneuver. Boats that have a coxswain, the athlete in charge of steering, must complete this turn efficiently to avoid adding time to their crew’s race and maintain their speed.
Drexel has competed in this regatta for a number of years. The regatta involves an early registration process and a draw. If a crew places in the top half of the crews in the event during the previous year’s regatta, they are guaranteed an entry in that same event for the following year. If a crew does not place in the top half, they will not have a guaranteed bid in that event for the next year and must rely on a lottery bid in the draw if they want to compete.
Last season, Drexel sent four boats, two from the men’s team and two from the women’s team, to compete in the women’s championship eights, women’s club eights, men’s championship eights and men’s collegiate eights events. After placing in the bottom half of the championship events, Drexel did not receive a bid this year for those two events and only competed in the club and collegiate level events this year.
The women had an exciting race Oct. 20. They finished seventh with an overall time of 17:28.363 which was a little over a second ahead of local rival Temple University and only 0.124 seconds behind Colonial Athletic Association rival Northeastern University. Yale University took home the gold medals in the women’s club eight event with a time of 17:10.341. The crew from Radcliffe (Harvard University) and the crew from the University of Pennsylvania finished with faster times than Yale but were excluded from the race.
The men’s team had a fantastic second-place finish earning them silver medals at one of the most prestigious regattas. The men’s varsity eight team came through the finish line with a time of 16:05.830 just behind the crew from the University of Michigan, who finished with a time of 15:58.108.
The Dragons return home to the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia Oct. 27 for the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. Last season, the Dragons won two of the events: the women’s college frosh/novice eight and the men’s club championships eight events. They will send a total of nine boats to compete in these two events again and also the men’s college frosh/novice eights, the women’s club championship eights and the men’s and women’s championships eights events.
In the men’s championship eights event, the varsity eight will compete against many of the same teams they saw at HOCR such as crews from the University of Virginia and Saint Joseph’s University. There will also be a boat racing from the Chinese National team.
In the women’s championship eights event, the varsity eight will compete against local teams from Temple, St. Joe’s and Penn as well as a CAA rival from the University of Delaware. For more information, visit https://hosr.org/.
Following the races Oct. 27, the Dragons will travel to Princeton, New Jersey, Oct. 28 to compete in the Princeton 3-Mile Chase on Lake Carnegie. They will bring a total of six boats, three from each team to compete in the men’s varsity heavyweight eight and women’s varsity open eight events.