PCRA youth coming off most successful Head of the Charles in years!

PCRA’s athletes traveled to Boston, MA this past weekend to compete in the largest regatta in the world, the Head of the Charles. This is one of the most prestigious and competitive races, and only the top 50% of finishers in each event are automatically guaranteed to earn a spot for next years. In windy, rainy, cold fall conditions, PCRA qualified two youth boats for next years Head of the Charles! This is a feat that PCRA has not accomplished since 2013. Special thanks to Harvard Rowing for keeping our athletes dry by allowing us to launch our boats and train out of Newell Boathouse, the home of the Harvard men’s rowing team.

The boys four, entirely comprised of junior rowers, finished 26th in a field of 85. This is a very solid result, but is made even more impressive considering they were on the receiving end of a collision which we estimate cost our boys about 15 seconds on the field. The crew was happy to qualify, but hungry for more.

Our girls four was the youngest average aged crew in the event by more than a year! Our boat, with an average age of 14, was competing against 17 and 18 year olds, and still managed to finish 38th in a field of 85. Our stroke seat, Molly Bidwell, was announced as the youngest competitor in the regatta! These precocious athletes have many more years of high school racing ahead of them, and the best is yet to come!

Our boys double and girls eight raced hard, tough, races but did not manage qualification. The boys double suffered a thumb injury mid race taking an off stroke due to conditions. Though they maintain it did not impact their racing, they fought through it, and beat some good boats in the process. Our girls eight had a similar struggle with conditions, catching a crab early in the race. On a stage like the Head of the Charles, it’s hard to recover from this, but after having to completely stop the boat to get the oar out, the boat had a good rest of the piece and a good time from the next marker to the finish. We’re very proud of both crews for hanging tough and showing what it means to represent PCRA despite adversity!

Head of the Charles is in many ways a coxswains regatta, and all three of our coxswains steered impeccable turns on the notoriously difficult course. The success of our boats was in large part thanks to their meticulous work studying the course, walking the course with coaches, watching race video, and getting familiar with the course as much as possible despite only rowing on it once before the race.

The success of our crews should be felt by the entire team. It takes a whole team effort to push each other in practice, and raise the game for the whole group. Although not all our athletes can go to Head of the Charles, they are all represented their by their teammates, and should feel proud of the results which reflect the abilities of the entire squad. This weekend we turn to the Head of the Schuylkill for our last competitive regatta of the season. Good luck to all our crews, and GO PCRA!

Henrik Rummel