Growing the rowing community at the Head of the Charles Regatta

By Emily Martinez, WEBN Reporter

The Head of the Charles returned to Boston this weekend. The regatta is a long time event running since 1965 for the hundreds of competitors traveling in from all over the world and country. The event is not only for those competing but also a great way to recruit those who wish to join or find future opportunities in the rowing community. 

Students from different age categories traveled from all over the world to be part of this event. Maggy Ward, a senior at Camp Randall Rowing Club from Madison, Wisconsin, is using the regatta to seek out participating colleges to ensure that her involvement in rowing continues past her high school career. 

“It’s a lot of me recruiting them, it’s all on my turf, which I really like. I get to talk to colleges here that are racing which I’m looking forward to and it’ll help me make my decision,” said Ward.

The Camp Randall rowing Club welcomed two new head women coaches a few weeks before competing in the Regatta, leading them to become one of the only female-only school teams competing at the Head of Charles this year.

“It’s a lot of pressure but it’s really empowering to be here as a young female crew,” said Zoey Halstaed, the coax of the all women group. 

Many people in the rowing community believe that the sport contains a meditative element to it, a feeling that many believe helps to clear their minds while competing. One person in particular, Charlotte Copp, a coach for Pacific University and competitor for the Station L Rowing club, heavily emphasized this idea. “What clicked with me was the meditated feel of it,” she said. “Even as a novice, I was able to set goals and search for the perfect stroke.” 

Copp came to the competition a day early before her race to recruit and expand the team she is representing. 

Though not all teams have the luxury to recruit, they still want to provide their students with the same experience they once had as a younger rower. “I’ve been coming to this regatta since high school and I was in the West coast, so it’s a great opportunity to travel and see strong competition but also for the athletes to get out of their comfort zone and race somewhere new,” said Ben Steal, the coach of the Vashon rowing club from Seattle.  

The adrenaline from competing in the world’s largest regatta surrounded by people of different ages and skill levels has elevated the experience for Grace Penticoff, a freshman in highschool competing in tomorrow’s races. “It’s such an honor to be here with people who really support you, not just in a competitive experience but also as an enjoyable experience,” said Penticoff.  

The Head of the Charles is expected to continue until Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.