Women's Crew | Nine Jumbos compete at Green Mountain Head
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 01:10
The annual Green Mountain Head Regatta in Putney, Vt., which head coach Brian Dawe described as a “flash mob” of 200 people, is a sight to see. In the span of four hours, rowing enthusiasts from all over the region showed up in their singles and doubles to participate in the race and enjoy a picnic on the Connecticut River afterwards.
The nine Tufts women’s rowers who participated showed up to a corn field that had been cut down into a parking lot for the occasion, and competed with athletes ranging from Social Security-eligible rowers to 2012 Olympian and current Tufts medical student Genevra “Gevvie” Stone.
Tufts fielded four doubles and a single in Sunday’s three-mile regatta, and although the Jumbos didn’t make it up on the podium to receive the prizes of syrup, apples or cider, they still had a strong showing against competitive scullers.
According to Dawe, the girls worked hard in the race and their work in technique over the past three weeks really showed this weekend.
“We looked good,” he said. “We are making some progress in terms of how we row. I have this vision of what rowing should be and we are starting to fulfill that vision.”
Junior captain Caroline Ricard came in 15th with a time of 24:03 in the competitive 20-boat field, and was one of the youngest rowers in the 19-34 age group. Stone, who raced in London this summer and just barely missed qualifying for the Olympic finals, captured first place with a time of 20:52. She came in first in the B-heat, one of the strongest showings of a US women’s sculler in recent years.
In their nine-boat field, Tufts doubles took fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth place. Senior captain Caroline Patterson and senior Kate Breame in fourth with a time of 22:50, a minute behind the third place finisher and 30 seconds ahead of fellow Jumbos senior Sheila Dave and junior Virginia Trumble.
Tufts was the only college at the event, which distinguished the experience from the one rowers will face in the spring. For the team, the goal of this weekend’s race was to get comfortable with the head race distance and to push each other to perform as well as possible.
“The point of this race was just to get some sculling practice in and focus on technique,” Patterson said. “In the next few weeks we will be facing our spring competition, but this weekend was more inter-squad and less collegiate.”
According to Ricard, getting to race alongside an Olympian was a valuable learning experience. Ricard launched for her race early and had some time in the warm up area to observe — and attempt to replicate — Stone’s technique.
“I’d notice something and try it for 10 strokes and be exhausted,” Ricard said. “Her stroke just had this rhythmic quality to it that I could only imagine replicating after years of practice.”
But even for Olympians like Stone, a race is still a race and requires hard work and determination. Now that the Olympics are over and medical school is in full swing, Stone has had to reduce her weekly workouts from about 20 hours to five.
“I was able to keep the rating up, which was good, and I didn’t die, which was good, and I won, which was good,” Stone said. “But it’s never fun to know that you’re going slower.”
Overall, Stone said that she enjoyed her time at the race, especially because the atmosphere of this particular regatta was so laid-back. The team enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the Green Mountain Head as well.
“Everyone was in it because they love rowing,” Ricard said. “You go to regattas where there’s tension emulating from everyone, but here there was a feeling that we’re all in it together.”
Stone will race a single in the Head of the Charles Regatta, where the atmosphere could not be more different from this weekend’s race. But not even winning the Head of the Charles could top the first place prize of the Green Mountain Head regatta — a vat of maple syrup.
“Left with maple syrup and I feel great about it,” Stone said. “It cannot be beat. It’s the best prize.”