Should the planet’s largest two-day rowing regatta add a third day? That’s a question that Head of the Charles officials will consider after the river freezes over this winter.
Moving the veterans events to Friday would free up space in what has become a jammed calendar, but would also create complications since Friday is the only official day for practice, which out-of-town coaches consider a necessity on a twisting course with seven bridges.
An extra day also would further burden volunteers, who already give up three of them to work the regatta.
“Does this mean that the regatta begins on Thursday for them?” mused Head executive director Fred Schoch. From a scheduling perspective, switching the veterans to Friday makes sense. “They have more flexibility in their lives,” said Schoch. “The veterans are near retirement, I hope, if their 401(k)s are robust.”
With the freed-up time on Sunday, the regatta could add a singles event for youth scullers who now have to compete in the club singles against rivals twice their age.
“Youth sculling has gone beyond our initial expectations,” observed Schoch, “and I think that’s a good thing.”
The veterans divisions already went through changes this year when the regatta scrapped the traditional age handicaps and split the over-60, over-70 and over-80 events into five-year groupings, which follows the international federation’s format. Predictably, the switch was not met with universal approval.
“They have a lot of opinions and I think it’s split,” reported Schoch. “But we’re not going to reverse it.”
Sunday’s men’s victors were Al Flanders (Veterans I), Michael Tebay (Veterans II), Henry Hamilton (Senior Veterans I), Carlo Zezza (Senior Veterans II) and Christopher Collins (Grand Veterans). The women’s winners were Susan Kinne (Veterans I), Catherine Kemper (Veterans II), Brooke Stevens (Senior Veterans I), Laurette Rindlaub (Senior Veterans II) and Eve Green (Grand Veterans).
The men’s Great 8, peopled entirely by Olympians, couldn’t repeat its 2009 victory in the championship eights, finishing fourth behind Washington, Harvard and Cal-Berkeley, nearly a dozen seconds off the winning pace.
“It wasn’t our best work but those three were the better crews on the day,” acknowledged Olympic singles champion Mahe Drysdale. “We didn’t execute as well as we could have today but they were trained for it and were fired up.”
Had the Great 8 (competing as Tideway Scullers) been fresh, they might well have given the collegians a go. But all of them did double duty here, rowing either in the championship singles or doubles on Saturday. Washington’s victory was the third straight by a US college crew, which hadn’t happened since Navy won four straight between 1980-83. It was the Huskies’ third victory in five years, following triumphs in 2008 and 2010.
Though Harvard was deprived of its men’s title in the championship eights after Washington’s appeal of a buoy violation was upheld, the Crimson picked up several significant consolation prizes. The lightweight crew, with world sculling medalist Andrew Campbell Jr. aboard, won the event for the first time since 1975, crushing defending champs US Rowing by nearly 12 seconds. Radcliffe’s lights finished a couple of seconds ahead of three-time defending titlist Wisconsin. And the Crimson flotilla claimed the overall points trophy.
Saiya Remmler, who was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton on Saturday after collapsing 2 miles into the women’s master doubles race, was released Sunday after tests proved negative. “I’m just happy that she’s OK and that she wasn’t in a single,” said partner Linda Muri, Harvard’s lightweight assistant coach. Remmler, who’d won the previous five titles with Teresa Zarzeczny-Bell, had complained of chest pains shortly before she gave out while they were comfortably in the lead. “She didn’t remember stopping rowing,” said Muri.