STANFORD, Calif. – The Stanford men’s rowing squad will compete in its first race of the 2013-14 season on Sunday when they travel to Boston for the 49th Head of the Charles Regatta.
“For the first race we are focused on getting in shape and back rowing together,” said junior Scott Roycroft. “We want to go out aggressively in this race and hold on to that with fitness and technique.”
Stanford will race on the second day of the two-day regatta with their Men’s Championship Four class scheduled to begin at 2:31 p.m. (ET). The Cardinal will attempt to repeat as in the race. The race begins with boats taking off from the starting gate in 10-second intervals and racing for time over the three-mile serpentine course. The Stanford four will be starting first after winning last year’s race with a time of 16:50.38. The time was over six seconds faster than the runner-up crew from Washington and 14 seconds ahead of the USRowing entry.
“It is the biggest race in the world,” said head coach Craig Amerkhanian. “We had a 2007 boat that won there and last year we won. That is a huge accomplishment. We are starting first when usually it is the national team that starts first.”
Last year’s boat was made up of coxswain Nathalie Weiss, Austin Hack, Oivind Lorentzen, Scott Roycroft and Kaess Smit. All of the members except Lorentzen are back this season. The group was the second Stanford boat to ever win a race at the Head of the Charles. The first came in the Championship Four in 2007.
“It is a race we have been going to for a few years and is probably the biggest rowing event in the world,” said senior Austin Hack. “All of the major competition that we will face later on this year and down the road will be there. It is always a great early season chance to see where you are at even though it is only a couple of weeks into the season for us.”
The Head of the Charles has been an annual event on the Charles River in Boston since 1965. It is an event that features 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators.
“The Charles is like no other race in rowing,” said junior Kaess Smit. “It is right in the middle of Boston and everyone on the street stops to check it out. It is a really cool energy and a really cool vibe.”
Widely considered one of the largest rowing events in the world, the Head of the Charles features a challenging course with seven bridges, the 90-degree “Weeks Bridge” turn and “Dead Man’s Curve” through the final Eliot Bridge.