By: Érico Benseñor Lotufo
BU News Service
Justin Keen and Erik Frid couldn’t hold their smiles while being presented their medals for winning the Head of The Charles Championship Doubles.
The young American team had defeated some formidable opponents.
On one side, the duo of New Zealand’s Mahé Drysdale and Norway’s Olaf Tufte, winners of the past four Olympics singles events. On the other, Australia’s James McRae and Canada’s Julien Bahain, with three Olympic medals between them.
Keen/Frid finished with a time of 16:58.899. McRae/Bahain were second with 17:04.548, whil Drysdale/Tufte finished third with 17:14.417.
“It’s definitely good company to keep,” Frid said. “But we weren’t thinking about that, we just wanted to have a good piece.”
“Those guys are definitely idols in the sport,” said Keen, a Philadelphia native. “But in the Head of the Charles you never know what’s going to happen.”
This is Frid’s first medal in seven participations at the HOCR. This time, he kept his strategy simple to win.
“Our coach kept telling us not to crash on the Eliot Bridge,” said the 24-year-old. “So that was my strategy.”
“Sometimes, with the weather like that, it’s just a matter of survival,” said 26-year-old Keen. “You can keep the legs going, the back going and steer a good course.”
The weather was not kind to the rowers during the weekend. But while the duo had to face heavy rain on Saturday, they were relieved to not race on a gusty Sunday.
“I was very glad that we rowed on Saturday,” Frid said. “Some of those winds would’ve tipped us over.”
“And we got to start the party early,” Keen said.
After not qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the two have their sights locked on Tokyo 2020.
“We’re definitely the next generation. We’re both pretty young guys, so that’s the long-term goal,” Keen said.