Tufts rowing competed in the iconic Head of the Charles Regatta this past weekend, finding success for both the men’s and the women’s teams. On Saturday, the men’s and women’s 3V8 boats raced in the Club Eights event, with opponents spanning from top Div. I schools to Div. III. They placed 21st and 28th, respectively, each moving down from their original bow by four and six places respectively. On Sunday, Tufts men’s and women’s 1V8 and 2V8 boats competed in the Collegiate Eights event against predominantly other Div. III competition, club teams and lower level Div. I schools. Both men’s and women’s 1V8 boats made history for the Jumbos, placing 6th and 3rd respectively, both beating last year’s performances by two places. The men’s and women’s 1V8 boats were second to only one other Div. III school. The men’s and women’s 2V8 boats finished 33rd and 12th, compared to last year’s 41st and 14th place finishes. Senior rower from the women’s 3V8 boat Astrid Larson described the environment of the Head of the Charles regatta.
“It doesn’t even feel like a race as much as it does a spectacle,” Larson said. “Because that’s really what it is. It’s this kind of pinnacle of New England rowing and it was just so cool to be a part of it.”
For Saturday’s Club Eights race, the boat rowed a 15:50.41 time over the three-mile HOTC course. 3V8 senior coxswain Logan McLennan talked about his boat’s performance.
“We felt super fired up,” McLennan said. “Especially coming off the line. We were hitting some very sustainable speeds in a very controlled way, and it felt really good. And so we were able to sustain that for a very long way into the course.”
McLennan elaborated on a close encounter attempting to pass another boat by the last bridge. He described the end-of-race push after maneuvering that portion of the course.
“We were almost shoved aside, but we did a few ducks and turns, maneuvers to get ourselves up front,” McLennan said. “And we finished off with a mighty sprint. I’ve got to shout out Teddy Schneider for really picking up the speed towards the end there. He lit a fire and everyone else followed suit and we were really able to finish up on a strong note.”
The women’s 3V8 lineup rowed a 18:03.94 time. Larson commented on the 3V8’s performance.
“The boat moved really well,” Larson said. “We found our rhythm pretty early on. It was really high intensity, but we kind of got into this swing state where we were all moving together and efficiently, and it flowed really nicely.”
The Jumbos were back in action on Sunday afternoon. The men’s and women’s 1V8 and 2V8 boats achieved great feats, outperforming last year’s Tufts boats and securing some of the highest finishes in the College Eights event in school history. The men rowed first with the 1V8 in bow eight and 2V8 in bow 41. The 1V8 boat finished with a 14:42.34 time. Drexel University won the event with a 14:20.50 time. The 2V8 boat rowed a 15:46.842 time.
1V8 3 seat sophomore Max Landers commented on the boat’s historic performance.
“It was the fastest a Tufts eight has ever gone down the course,” Landers said. “We had the best Tufts showing last year when we came in eighth, and we beat that time by 40 seconds. So obviously, the team has gotten a lot faster and a lot stronger since then, and that’s really cool to see.”
Shortly after, the women’s 1V8 and 2V8 competed. The 1V8 boat rowed a 16:44.88 time, just four seconds behind the second place finisher Wellesley College, earning an impressive third place finish. The women’s 2V8 boat finished with a 17:15.46 mark. McLennan, along with a sea of Tufts parents, rowing teammates and students, watched the Sunday boats from Eliot Bridge, the last of the HOTC course. McLennan described watching the women’s 1V.
“As far as their rowing technique, it was absolutely on fire, especially coming through the last bridge,” McLennan said. “We’ve already got more than two and a half miles of rowing at that point. Most people are gassed, most people are just throwing their hands up trying to get connection with the water. … But the women’s 1V was put together, focused and just on fire coming out of the last bridge, going into that last little stretch to the finish line.”
As the squads head into their last regatta of the fall season, Landers said he is excited for the Head of the Fish and also the team’s winter preparation with hopes of an NCAA championship in the spring.
“We have a really, really good chance of trying to beat Williams and win a national championship next spring,” Landers said. “I know that’s a pretty lofty goal, but I think that if we apply ourselves this winter and all agree to come together and have the mindset that, ‘Ok, we’re doing this to win a national championship,’ … I think we can really do it.”