The Lady Vols head to Boston for the Head of the Charles Regatta
Oct. 18, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It's the largest two-day rowing regatta in the world. It attracts over 300,000 spectators as well as 9,000 athletes every year. Tennessee is the reigning champion in one of their two events.
It's none other than the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
This year, the Lady Vol Rowing team will take a Champ 8+ and a Club 8+ to race for gold in the Charles River.
Tennessee is the team to beat in the Club 8+ this year; the crew placed first out of 28 crews in the 2011 regatta. The Club 8+ outshined competitors, Yale, UConn, George Mason and Alabama just to name a few, with a margin of over 15 seconds to second place.
Although by rules of the Club 8+, none of last year's gold-medal winners may compete in the Club race this year, those athletes have pushed for the Champ 8+ crew and the Club 8+ athletes for the 2012 regatta are pushing harder than ever to hold their reigning victory for another year.
Boston native and bow seat in the Club 8+, sophomore Sarah McAuliffe is looking forward to the weekend more than some of her teammates for this business trip to her hometown.
"I'm so excited to go back home and show everyone how hard Tennessee has been working," McAuliffe said. "Our boat is so motivated to prove ourselves and to row how we have been in practice. We know what we have to accomplish and we're ready to do it."
Not to be overlooked, the Champ 8+ is looking for a big finish as well. Coxed by sophomore, Jessie Richardson, the Orlando native says she is more than prepared to attempt yet another perfect course in this tricky coxswain obstacle course.
"I am really looking to lead an exciting, demanding and positive race and hit a perfect course," Richardson said. "This race has a special place in my heart and I feel honored to represent Tennessee."
"This race will help to set the tone for the rest of our fall season," Richardson continued. "It is also going to raise the bar for our spring season. This is our time to show the rowing world what Tennessee is all about."
Big ambitions can only be fueled by willing athletes. Tennessee Rowing has been showing they have just that.
Senior rower in the Champ 8+, Evelyn Radford says it is an honor to be able to row the Charles.
"The Head of the Charles is a great reminder that we are never `safe'," Radford said. "We know that we have to bring it every day at practice if we want to succeed on race day."
"For newer rowers, the Charles is an eye-opening experience about how widely-known and prestigious the sport of rowing is," Radford said. "This water is so rich in history. For the more experienced rowers, this is our chance to improve our rankings from last year and make a statement to our competition to say that we are serious about what we want to do this year."
Tennessee has a very long history of doing well at this highly distinguished regatta and this year will be no different for these Lady Vols.
The Women's Club 8+ will race the Charles River at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, starting first in a lineup of 34 boats. The Champ 8+ will make their way to the finish line on Sunday, starting at 3:08 p.m. The Champ 8+ will be starting 16th out of 40 crews.