48th Head Of The Charles Regatta: Recap and Review

Keeping an eye on the Charles (Photo: © B. Kitch)
The 2012 edition of the Head Of The Charles was up there with the most stacked (in terms of Olympians on the course) and most dramatic (in terms of collisions) regattas to date. As we indicated last week, the field in the women's championship eight event was perhaps deeper than ever, with no less than five boats full of Olympians – the USRowing entry, The Netherlands, Canada, the 'Great Eight' (racing as Cambridge Boat Club), and London Rowing Club (made up of GB athletes). The men's champ eight showcased a Washington crew that has Canadian standout (and 2012 Olympic silver medalist) Conlin McCabe holding down the engine room – the Huskies are, once again, looking like a dominant force in collegiate rowing for the 2012-2013 season. Let's take a look at how our picks turned out in Boston.

Women's Champ Single
As we predicted, defending champ Gevvie Stone was duking it out with a fellow Olympian for the top spot this year. However, we thought that Mirka Knapkova might be the fellow Olympian in question, suggesting that her experience my trump against Kim Crow on a tricky course. Evidently, Crow was just fine – the Aussie phenom took a very close second behind Stone, who made it three in a row in Boston. We predicted that Stone, Crow, Knapkova, Ursula Grobler, Kathleen Bertko, and Debbie Flood would be the top six, and we were nearly right – Flood finished seventh behind Lauren Schmetterling of Riverside Boat Club.

Men's Champ Single
In retrospect, I suppose it's always risky to pick an Olympic champion to win the following Charles – likely, Mahé has taken some time off and came to Boston more for fun than for glory. While we weren't surprised by Kjetil Borch, Tom Paradiso, Lassi Karonen, and Will Daly being among the leaders, we were very impressed by the results from Stephen Whelpley (second overall), Hans Struzyna (fifth), and John Graves (eighth, ahead of Drysdale). Mike Sivigny and Mike Perry finished 10th and 12th overall, respectively, though places 7-12 were separated by little more than six seconds.

Women's Champ Double
Our predicted winner, Rowing Canada's Emily Cameron and Kelly Shaffer, took third overall, behind Katie Stainken and Morgan Wimberley of Potomac Boat Club, and Rachel Stortvedt and Sherri Kline of Long Beach Rowing Association. The CRC entry with 2011 champ Jen Goldsack and Meg George took sixth.

Men's Champ Double
While we didn't get the order exactly right, we did pick the top three crews in this event. Our predicted winners – the combination of Alan Campbell and Aleksandar Aleksandrov placed third, with our other crews to watch, Olaf Tufte and Iztok Cop taking the title, the new combination of Sam Stitt and Matt Miller claiming the second spot, and Glenn Ochal and Marcel Hacker taking fourth. Congrats to 'unaffiliated (CAN)' crew Nick and Dylan Harris on a great fifth place result, as well as to Joe Spencer (2011 Pan Am champ in the U.S. men's eight) and Erich Schwirtz of Penn AC for a solid sixth place finish in a very tough field.

Women's Champ Eight
Again, we took the Canadian women's crew to claim the title, and again we missed the mark – not only did the RCA crew not win, they lost to three university crews (Virginia, Princeton and Radcliffe) en route to an eighth place finish overall. However, our prediction of a close second place for the 'Great Eight' proved true (if only because of a penalty that moved them from the top of the leaderboard), and our pick for third, USRowing, claimed top honors. As we expected, Virginia was the top collegiate crew, placing an impressive third overall ahead of both the Dutch and Canadian Olympic crews, as well as a heavily stacked London Rowing Club entry.

Men's Champ Eight
Our pick was the 'Great Eight' to win it all, but U.S. men's intercollegiate rowing showed that it is going to be another outstanding season this year, with Washington, Harvard and Cal all moving ahead of the Tideway Scullers crew, which took fourth place. The collision with the USRowing crew was certainly significant, and the fact that the Huskies were still able to post the fastest time of the day is an indication of just how much speed UW will have come spring time.

Women's Collegiate Eights
While we weren't far off, Trinity College and William Smith both edged our top picks, Williams College and Grand Valley State, into third and fourth place, respectively. While Williams has been on an incredible streak spanning the last seven seasons, the plight of Western Washington at the 2012 NCAA championships will no doubt be on the minds of the Ephs as they train for the 2013 sprint season this winter, with Trinity emerging as a potential force. The result for GVSU was solid, and we'll be expecting another strong season from the Lakers this year.

Men's Collegiate Eights
Nailed it! The UVa men's squad did not disappoint in Boston, winning both the men's collegiate four and collegiate eight events, just ahead of Michigan in both cases. Also, as we predicted, GVSU posted a top-three finish in the men's collegiate eight, showing that they'll once again be a force to be reckoned with in the deepening ACRA field this spring.

For complete results, please visit the official website of the Head Of The Charles Regatta. Also, for a FISA gallery of this year's HOCR, check out our Facebook page.


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