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Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024

Crew Competes Amongst Nation's Best in Boston

Author: John Condon Staff Writer

"It was a rush to hear the thousands of spectators cheering for Midd just as hard as they did for the US National Team," said men's captain and lightweight 4+ stroke Brian Ambrette '02 after competing with the finest of American rowing.

Last weekend, Middlebury Crew competed along with 5,400 athletes from top crews from colleges and clubs across the country and the world. At this year's Head of the Charles Regatta, a record five boats were accepted to compete for Middlebury this year: a men's and a women's varsity lightweight 4+, a women's club 8+, a men's club 4+, and a men's club 8+ (Midd alumni).

Middlebury rowers traveled to Boston last Wednesday, rowing at a private high school, where they took advantage of fall break to maximize practice time and to obtain thorough knowledge of the course. The Head of the Charles course stretches from the Boston University boathouse past Harvard University through many narrow turns and technical bridges. During these practices and going into the race, rowers were challenged by Coach Alex Machi to maintain complete focus and to prepare for the mental and physical limits to which each boat would push itself. Pre-race activities included both visualization and listening to recordings of world class coxswains steering the course. Complete commitment was the focus of each rower.

On Saturday, Middlebury's club entries competed. The women's club 8+ was coxed by Susy King '02 and stroked by senior captain Anne Thompson, representing many veteran rowers as well as first year varsity members in a very competitive race.

In the men's club 4+, Cory Balint '04 coxed four sophomore men in a strong race. They finished 40th of 70 boats, about 50 seconds behind Williams, but ahead of Bates, UMass and Northeastern.

On Sunday, Middlebury's varsity entries competed. The men's lightweight 4+, coxed by Sarah Selgrade '02 and stroked by Ambrette competed against elite programs such as the U.S. National Team, Yale and Navy. The men rowed what they felt was the most focused race of the season, trying to show the strength of Middlebury's crew program against their powerhouse competitors. For almost two miles, Selgrade's steering and her rowers' focus helped to hold off top lightweights from Georgetown and complete the toughest bridges.

The women's lightweight 4+, coxed by Cameren Cousins '03, raced immediately after the men's lights along with similar competition, boasting names such as Undine Boat Club and Radcliffe Crew. The women finished in the top 10, a clear success for Middlebury's program against intense competition.

Overall, Middlebury rowers felt they were successful competitors at this year's Head of the Charles. To row in the Charles is an honor that many rowers feel is the pinnacle of their rowing career.

This weekend, the varsity men and women will be joined by the novice team in their first regatta representing Middlebury at the Head of the Fish. Middlebury Crew hopes to carry the focus and power of the Charles race to earn some medals at this well-attended race.