Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Head Of The Charles Banter: Can We Talk about how Badass this Year's 'Great Eights' are?

The Charles is just around the corner (Photo: © B. Kitch)
The 50th Head Of The Charles Regatta is now just a few short days away, and while they're perfectly capable of running their own hype machine, we can't help but get amped when we look at the lineups for the men's and women's 'Great Eights' this year. The Women's Championship Eight will again see a crew of top-flight scullers take on a crew of elite sweep rowers from the national training center, and the men's event features not just one, but two Great Eights (one of sweep rowers, one of scullers), as well as national team crews from the U.S. and France. In a word: Stacked. Let's take a closer look.

Women's Champ Eight
Looking over the entries on RegattaCentral, there are some clear front-runners in this event. The first crew that jumps off the page is the one from the U.S. national team training center: This crew boasts multiple Olympic gold medalists, including two-time Olympic champion Eleanor Logan, as well as some young talent that is on the rise. Then, there's the Cambridge Boat Club Great Eight that has a lineup that reads like a wold championship final in the women's single.

USRowing Entry:
c: Katelyn Snyder (2013 and 2014 world champion in the women's eight, six-time national team member)
8: Heidi Robbins (2012 World U23 gold medalist in the women's eight, 2013 NCAA silver medalist in the varsity eight with Princeton, later followed that up with a new World Best Time of 5:54.16, this time in the stroke seat of the U.S. women's eight at the 2013 World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne; 2013 RoRy Award Winner for Female Athlete of the Year at the college level)
7: Eleanor Logan (double Olympic gold medalist, back in the women's eight this year after finishing fifth overall in the women's single at the 2013 world championships—her first year sculling at the elite level)
6: Tracy Eisser (A former track and field star in high school—won a New Jersey state title in 2008—and Cornell alum who has had a great first season at the elite level, winning worlds in the women's eight)
5: Grace Luczak (Seven-time national teamer, multiple world championship titles at the U23 level, 2013 and 2014 senior worlds champion in the women's eight)
4: Amanda Polk (Notre Dame grad, four-time world champion in the women's eight, 2012 Olympic alternate, part of 2013 USRowing World Best Time crew with Robbins, 2014 world champion in the women's eight)
3: Lauren Schmetterling (Second-place finisher at Crash-Bs in 2012, 2013 and 2014 world champion in the women's eight, part of 2013 USRowing World Best Time crew with Robbins)
2: Meghan Musnicki (2012 Olympic gold medalist in the women's eight, with four other world titles to her name in that event, plus a fourth-place finish last year in the women's pair, doubling up out of the eight)
1: Grace Latz (2014 world bronze medalist in the U.S. W4x, following up on a silver medal at World Cup II in Aiguebelette)

Cambridge Boat Club Entry:
c: Erin Driscoll (Harvard alum, former Radcliffe Lightweight coxswain, 2014 EAWRC Sprints and IRA champion)
8: Genevra Stone (2012 Olympian, five-time U.S. national team member and Princeton grad—read her RR interview here)
7: Kim Crow (Australian 2012 Olympian—the only rowing athlete to double-up in London, and winner of two medals: bronze in the women's single, and silver in the women's double; 2013 world champ in the women's single, with a silver this year behind Emma Twigg; 2012 RoRy Award Winner for Female Athlete of the Year at the elite level)
6: Miroslava Knapkova (Czech 2012 Olympic champion in the women's single, 2013 bronze medalist in that event, this year raced to a seventh-place finish in Amsterdam after a 2014 Euro title in Belgrade; 2011 RoRy Award Winner for Breakthrough Performance of the Year at the elite level)
5: Carling Zeeman (Canadian multiple-time U23 medalist, 2013 silver in the women's quadruple sculls in Chungju, silver at World Rowing Cup II in Aiguebelette this year, sixth at worlds in W4x)
4: Chantal Achterberg (Dutch 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the women's eight, two-time world champion in the women's four, 2009-2010; seventh place in the W4x in Amsterdam)
3: Sanita Puspure (Latvian/Irish, 2012 Olympian for Ireland in the women's single, 2014 European bronze medalist, fourth-place finish at worlds this year)
2: Magdalena Lobnig (Austrian 2014 European champion in the women's single following a silver from 2013, two-time U23 medalist in the BW2x; finished fifth in the W1x in Amsterdam)
1: Donata Vistartaite (Lithuanian 2012 Olympian, two-time European champion in the W1x, 2013 world champion in the double, fourth-place finish in the double this year in Amsterdam)

Add to this the top collegiate crews, with yet-to-be-seen entries from Virginia, Radcliffe, and Princeton likely the domestic favorites, along with crews from Oxford and Cambridge, and the Women's Championship Eight will be a very exciting race to watch this year in Boston.

Men's Championship Eight
If you thought that the women's event was loaded, take a look at the men's side—in addition to not one, but two Great Eights, there are also two USRowing entries packed with national team veterans, as well as a crew from France made up of elite athletes from their training center.

USRowing Entry A:
c: Zach Vlahos (2014 Holland Beker champion, 2012 Olympic coxswain finishing fourth narrowly behind Great Britain, 2010 IRA national champion with California, famously threw out first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game in 2011)
8: Seth Weil (Stroke of the silver-medal winning U.S. men's four in Amsterdam, bronze medal at 2013 world championships in Chungju—check out his RR interview here)
7: Charlie Cole (2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the men's four, 10-time national team member, finished sixth in the M2- in Amsterdam)
6: Tom Dethlefs (Stroke of the U.S. men's eight in 2013 and 2014, bronze medal in that event in Chungju; gold medalist in the U23 men's eight in 2011 and 2012; gold medalist in the JM8+ in 2008)
5: Steve Kasprzyk (2014 Holland Beker champion, 2012 Olympian, finishing fourth place in the men's eight, 2011 Pan Am champ in the men's eight, six-time national team member, pride of Cinnaminson, New Jersey)
4: Matt Miller (Two-time MidAtlantic Erg Sprints champion, ACRA champion with Virginia, 2014 Holland Beker champion, has own search label on RR—arguably most notable achievement)
3: Rob Munn (Six-time national teamer, Washington alum and four-time IRA national champion, two-time U23 world champion in the BM8+, 2014 Holland Beker champ; 2012 RoRy Award Winner for Male Athlete of the Year at the college level)
2: Mike Gennaro (Silver medal in the men's four at the 2014 world championships, bronze in that event in 2013, 2011 Pan American champion in the men's eight and men's pair, 2012 Olympic alternate, current front-runner for best Twitter account on USRowing squad)
1: Grant James (2012 Olympian, six-time national teamer, 2014 world silver medalist in the men's four following bronze from 2013, 2008 U23 world champ in the BM8+)

USRowing Entry B:
c: Samuel Ojserkis (2013 U23 world champion in the men's eight, three-time IRA national champion with Washington, 2012 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year)
8: Jake Cornelius (2012 Olympian—fourth place in the men's eight in London—and 2007 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race champion)
7: Nareg Guregian (2010 IRA national champion with California, six-time national team member, 2013 world bronze medalist in the men's eight)
6: Glenn Ochal (2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the men's four, Princeton alum and 2005 Men's Champ Eight winner at the Head Of The Charles, finished sixth in the pair with Charlie Cole in Amsterdam)
5: Alex Karwoski (Three-time national team member, close fourth-place finish in the BM4- at the 2012 U23 world championships)
4: Austin Hack (Junior and U23 world champion, 2013 bronze medalist in the men's eight in Chungju)
3: David Eick (Former UNC Tarheel, selected to ACRA All-Star Camp in 2011, 2013 Royal Canadian Henley champ in the senior men's pair)
2: Ross James (Five-time national team athlete, 2012 Olympian, 2013 world bronze medalist in the men's eight, won U23 worlds in the eight in 2008)
1: Sam Dommer (Washington alum and four-time IRA national champion, Henley Royal Regatta winner in the Temple Challenge Cup, first-time national team athlete in 2014)

Craftsbury Great Eight (Scullers):
c: Peter Wiersum (Dutch 2008 and 2012 Olympian, world champion coxswain of the 2007 Dutch lightweight men's eight)
8: John Graves (Four-time national team member, has competed at the senior level as both a lightweight and a heavyweight, bronze in the M4x at the 2014 World Cup III in Lucerne—read his RR interview here)
7: Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand, Three-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic champion in the men's single, five times world champion, two times Head Of The Charles winner in the Men's Champ Single; 2012 RoRy Award Winner for Male Athlete of the Year at the elite level)
6: Ondrej Synek (Czech Replublic, Two-time Olympic silver medalist and reigning world champion in the men's single)
5: Martin Sinkovic (Croatia, 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the M4x, three-time world champion, reigning world champion and World Best Time holder in the M2x, featured in our current Video Of The Week)
4: Julien Bahain (France/Canada, Two-time Olympian, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the M4x, fourth place in 2012 in the M2x, currently representing Canada in the M1x)
3: Roel Braas (Netherlands, 2012 Olympian in the men's eight, fifth in the M1x in Chungju, finished ninth in the M1x this year—watch him set the Dutch record for 2000m on the erg here)
2: Olaf Tufte (Norway, double Olympic champion in the men's single, five-time Olympian including silver in the M2x in Sydney and an eighth-place finish in the M4- in Atlanta—bet you forgot about that one!)
1: Valent Sinkovic (Croatia, 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the M4x, three-time world champion, reigning world champion and World Best Time holder in the M2x—brother is Martin, above)

Taurus Boat Club Great Eight (Sweepers):
c: Jack Carlson (USA, Eighth in the pair with coxswain in Amsterdam, two-time national teamer, will be harnessing the power of the blazer to ensure that his crew wins 'best dressed' at the Riverside party)
8: Josh Dunkley-Smith (Australia, 2012 Olympic silver medalist with Drew Ginn in the men's four, silver medal in the M4- in Chungju and again in Amsterdam this season)
7: Olivier Siegelaar (Netherlands, double Olympian in the men's eight, fifth place in the men's four this year in Amsterdam, 2010 IRA national champion with California)
6: Hamish Bond (Never heard of him)
5: Richard Schmidt (Germany, three-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist with the Deutschlandachter)
4: Conlin McCabe (Canada, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Washington alum and three-time IRA national champion, contender for best FISA profile picture; 2011 RoRy Award Winner for Male Athlete of the Year at the college level)
3: Henrik Rummel (USA, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the men's four, 2013 world bronze medalist in the men's four, 2014 silver medalist in the M4-; Harvard alum and 2007 Eastern Sprints champion)
2: Francesco Fossi (Italy, 2012 Olympian in the M4x; finished third in the M2x in 2013, second in Amsterdam in the double with Romano Battisti)
1: Jacob Barsoe (Denmark, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and reigning world champion in the LM4-)

Add to that a French men's eight that includes Julien Despres, Germain Chardin, and Cedric Berrest, and you've got a recipe for one hell of a race. Suffice it to say, we can't wait for the Charles this year. But that's just us—who's your top crew to watch this year?

[Update 10/2] Judging by the response, you guys are just as excited as we are about the 50th anniversary of the Charles! And yes, there is another stacked, international crew—a lightweight 'Great Eight'—in the mix on the men's side this year, rowing out of Cambridge Boat Club. Here's what it looks like:

Cambridge Boat Club Entry:
c: Kate Apfelbaum (Trinity alum, Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race winner on both men's and women's sides, with Isis in 2012 and the OUWBC first eight in 2013)
8: Vincent Muda (Netherlands, 2012 Olympian finishing sixth in the LM4-, 2013 Euro bronze medalist in the LM2x with brother Tycho, finished sixth in LM2x in Amsterdam)
7: Tycho Muda (Netherlands, 2012 Olympian finishing sixth in the LM4-, 2013 Euro bronze medalist in the LM2x with brother Vincent, finished sixth in LM2x in Amsterdam)
6: Joshua Konieczny (USA, 2011 IRA national championship runner up in the men's lightweight eight with Dartmouth, two-time national team member including this year's 10th place finish in the LM2x at the Bosbaan)
5: Austin Meyer (USA, Harvard alum, IRA champion in the lightweight varsity eight, seven-time national teamer, 2009 Crash-B champ in the U23 lightweight men's division)
4: Kristoffer Brun (Norway, 2012 Olympian, 2013 world champion in the LM2x, finished third at this year's world championships in that event, bronze at the 2014 Euro champs)
3: Bernhard Sieber (Austria, 2012 U23 world champion in the BLM2x with brother Paul, finished 12th this year in Amsterdam in the lightweight double)
2: Are Strandli (Norway, 2012 Olympian, 2013 world champion in the LM2x, finished third at this year's world championships in that event, bronze at the 2014 Euro champs)
1: Paul Sieber (Austria, 2012 U23 world champion in the BLM2x with brother Bernhard, finished 12th this year in Amsterdam in the lightweight double)

Cliffs notes to the above lineup: It's a combination of the Dutch, U.S., Austrian, and Norwegian men's lightweight doubles. 

-RR

6 comments:

  1. Bart ThompsonOctober 01, 2014

    This field is absolutely amazing. Wow.

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  2. I Thought I saw a "great" lightweight 8 as well

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  3. rowingrelatedOctober 02, 2014

    Indeed—rowing out of Cambridge Boat Club. The article is now updated with the full lineup/stats. Cheers!

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  4. if you like those lineups, take a road trip to Philadelphia on October 25th for the Gold Cup championship. Many of those rowers will be sprinting 750 meters on the Schuylkill river for a prize of $10,000! Visit www.thegoldcup.org

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  5. rowingrelatedOctober 04, 2014

    It should also be noted that the scullers will all (or nearly all?) be racing on Saturday as well—advantage, sweepers

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  6. rowingrelatedOctober 17, 2014

    Update: In the USRowing women's eight, Heidi Robbins has been replaced by Molly Bruggeman (Notre Dame 2014, was in the U23 four and eight that won gold over the summer).

    ReplyDelete