Three grueling miles of upriver, non-stop rowing, on a windy river while competing against 85 boats containing the best high school rowers in the world.
Welcome to the Head of the Charles regatta.
“This is probably the first and last time East Lyme will ever go to a regatta of this size, and I’m just so thankful that it happened while I was here,” said Hannah Miller, senior captain of the the girls crew team.
The Head of the Charles Regatta is a prestigious race founded in 1965. The competition draws thousands of rowers of all different ages to Boston, as well as hundreds of thousands of spectators every year. The highly competitive nature of the race draws the world’s best boats, meaning that a middle of the pack finish is quite desirable.
“I would be quite happy with a 30th place finish, especially in such a big race like this, 30th would be amazing,” Miller said regarding potential placement.
It is also quite challenging for even the best rowers with it being a three miles long, incredibly stressful race.
“I feel like I want to throw up for the majority of race,’’ said V1 rower, sophomore Thomas McGrath. “It’s ok because once you’re done, you feel like you can accomplish anything.”
Despite it being the first time that East Lyme has ever been to the regatta through a lottery, the team feels pretty optimistic. The confidence is not for nothing; previously this fall at the CRI Fall Classic, a smaller race held on the same course, the girls placed 8th out of 26 boats.
“Unfortunately, this placing probably won’t translate to a top finish at the regatta because even the teams that won the Fall Classic will be middle of the pack for the Head of the Charles because of how good the teams are that come to race,” said girls coach Scott Mahon.
The team is united by their mutual excitement to attend this historic event.
“No matter what happens, win or lose, this will be a very positive experience. It’s a great honor to even get to go there,” said boys captain, junior Nolan Deschenes.