Head of the Charles Regatta pushes through the Charles River

By Anran Xie
BU News Service

BOSTON — “Ready, row!”

At the umpire’s command, rowing teams sink their oars into the Charles River to begin the competition for Boston’s 55th Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest rowing competition that hosts hundreds of thousands of athletes every year. More than 2,000 crew teams took part in the competition.

This annual Boston tradition took place on Oct. 19 and 20 this year, and runs three miles upstream from the Boston University Boathouse to Christian Herter Park. Around 66 events were held during the competition, including the Men’s and Women’s Championships, Master and Club Single, Double, Four, and Eight races.

Rather than having all the boats in a head start at once, they stagger their departures and base the results on their individual times. Students wearing their school’s hoodies cheering for their school’s teams had the loudest cheers during the club and collegiate competitions.

The most promising events for Saturday were the women’s and men’s championship singles, with Gevvie Stone and John Graves winning each championship respectively. Stone previously won a 2016 Olympic Silver medal and defeated her chief competition, Kara Kohler, a 2020 Olympian who beat Stone in the qualification while representing the US at the Worlds in August. Eight-time national team member Graves got the gold medal.

Sunny skies and soft breezes drew thousands out to the banks of the Charles to watch the races. People gathered in different places, including the bridges and parks that border the river, and while some watched casually, others screamed for their teams and cheered them on as they raced downstream. 

Some people simply passed through to experience the atmosphere of race day. “I’ve seen this in years past and I’m just wondering how it’s going this year,” said Brendan Kana. He watched the regatta from Magazine Beach Park, one of the best lookout spots during the races. “It’s really fun to watch the races,” he said. 

Cassandra Fibbe and Vincent LaRovere came to support the alumni of Bowden College and UConn. As a former rower in college, Fibbe convinced LaRovere to tag along to the Head of the Charles. “Nothing compares to being on the water,” she said.           

As LaRovere watched the Regatta for the first time, he said that he enjoyed the precision that goes into each rowing stroke and every movement, as everyone in the whole boat comes together as one. “It’s a good day to get in the mood for a good race,” he said.

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