By James Geerdes
Boston holds arguably the biggest rowing event of the year this weekend in the 53rd-annual Head of the Charles Regatta.
More than 52 sanctioned events will be held on the Charles River throughout Saturday and Oct. 22, with groups ranging from Youth Eights to Senior Veteran singles, where some competitors are 70-years-old or older.
The Hawkeyes are sending two boats, a varsity 8+ and a 4+, to compete in the Women’s Championship 4s and the Women’s Championship Eights events, the 45th and 48th races. The Hawkeyes’ races will be on Oct. 22 and are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and 2:22 p.m.
“They are as well-positioned as any crew we’ve ever sent to go out there,” head coach Andrew Carter said. “We’ve set some program records in the last couple of years at this regatta, and it’s been a really good springboard for us going into this winter. I’m really looking forward to see how they do.”
The Head of the Charles will be the last race the Iowa rowers will compete in until the spring season kicks off on Feb. 8 against Old Doninion and SMU.
This fall, the team competed at the Head of Des Moines, where the Novice squads picked up wins in the Novice 4+ and Novice 8+ against other college teams from the state of Iowa. Carter’s squad also hosted a scrimmage in early October against Indiana and Wisconsin, where the varsity squad swept both teams.
“We lost five seniors last year, but I think a lot of people stepped up to fill their place,” senior Kaelynn Heiberg said. “Some sophomores and juniors have really stepped up and filled their places. We have a good dynamic.”
Stepping up seems to be a key aspect to see the same historic success of last year’s rowing season. The squad placed 15th at the NCAA Rowing Championships in May and hope to stay on the same track.
“We have the best level of fitness that I’ve seen out of this team,” Carter said. “They’ve done more than any team that has come before them at Iowa. We go into the winter training period with a lot of confidence and a lot of drive coming off a record-setting year. I think they’re ready to take the next step.”
Boston will be the last test before the Hawkeye rowers buckle down for their winter off-season.
“[Fall season is] going well,” junior varsity coxswain Logan Jones said. “We had a couple scrimmages against Wisconsin and Indiana where we showed some good speed and some good times. We are excited for our next competition at Boston, where we can show our speed against more college teams.”
Because the team is only sending its top two boats to the Charles River, two other varsity boats and Iowa’s novice athletes will head to Lawrence, Kansas, to partake in the Jayhawk Jamboree on Oct. 22 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Carter is sending three Novice 8+ crews and two varsity 8+ crews to compete in Kansas.
“They’ve developed at a really good rate, and they come to practice every day with a smile on their face,” Carter said of his novice athletes. “I like what they’re doing. I like the position they’re in so far, and they get to go up against their toughest competition this weekend. I’m excited for it.”