Irish to compete at Head of the Charles
Benjamin Padanilam | Thursday, October 13, 2016
Notre Dame kicks off its short fall season over the break with the renowned Head of the Charles regatta in Boston on Oct. 22 and 23.
The Irish are sending three boats to compete in the event. They will have a team in the club four-boat race Saturday and then teams in both the championship four-boat and championship eight-boat races Sunday.
Irish head coach Martin Stone said the Head of the Charles is a special event which he is both excited for his team beginning the season with and worried about the distraction it can present to his rowers.
“The Head of the Charles is really a celebration of rowing,” Stone said. “It’s also the largest and most celebrated general regatta in the world. In the championship [eight-boat], we’re going against people who medaled in the Olympics in Rio. It’s all levels of competition — there will be former Olympians there, [and] there will be Olympians in the future.
“So it’s just a huge celebration of rowing that takes place in Boston. To be a part of that is phenomenal, but also you have to be careful because you can get caught up in that. There’s just so much going on, and it’s somewhat chaotic at times, so you can get out of focus sometimes. But for 18 minutes, we have to prepare to go really, really fast on a very difficult course in Boston.”
Stone said he expects Notre Dame’s three boats to be competitive and race well, despite the quality of the field awaiting them in Boston.
“We expect that we’re going to race well, and we’ll prepare well the next — I think we have 11 or 12 practices to prepare for the event,” Stone said. “We just gotta do the little things well to go fast and not get caught up in the extraneous stuff that happens on that day.”
Stone said the team’s goals for the Head of the Charles are multifold. In order to qualify for next year’s event, a boat must finish in the top half of the field in its race. Stone will judge his boats’ performances both by their placement and how they stack up against teams they will see later in the spring season, he said.
“The first objective is to make sure all three boats are in the top 50 percent, so I think that’s the minimum we’re looking for,” Stone said. “And then, beyond that, we want to see how we compare to our other peer institutions that are racing there.”
And being the first regatta of the season, the Head of the Charles can be a race that sets the tone for the rest of the season and establishes a starting point for the team’s development, Stone said.
“Each race kind of builds on itself, and each race — I don’t want to say it’s more important than the previous, but maybe that’s the case,” Stone said. “It’s about getting better, right? So we have a lot of information of how we’ve done in the past [Head of the Charles regattas] and what we need to do differently each year.”
Notre Dame travels to Boston to compete in the Head of the Charles on Oct. 22 and 23.