Fall Fun

Fall Season is underway with a great squad of returning rowers and a full group of novices. The weather on the coast of Maine has been spectacular and crews are taking advantage of it mornings and afternoons.

Racing begins with the Textile River Regatta on Oct. 5 in Lowell, MA, followed by the Quinsigamond Snake on Oct. 11. We have 3 crews in the College Four and 2 alumni boats racing in the Club Four at the Head of The Charles on Oct. 18. Come join us at the water!

Family Weekend begins Oct. 31 and we will have an event at the Boathouse to introduce parents and siblings to the boats and oars. Stay tuned for details!

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Henley In the Wake

    After an undefeated regular season and open water wins at New England’s and Dad Vail,
Bowdoin’s top four advanced to the quarter finals of Henley Women’s Regatta. In the single
elimination knockout format, or “side by side,” Bowdoin found itself in the harder bracket and drew Yale for the quarter final. Yale’s four was second in the Ivy League Championship and raced a close race with Oxford Brookes University on Saturday to advance to the “elite eight.” Bowdoin jumped out to the lead with a perfect start, but Yale drew even and the two crews raced level through the body of the race. As they approached the line, Yale was slightly ahead, but Bowdoin began its final push and started to surge on the Eli. Sadly, a missed stroke caused a crab and stopped the boat dead in the water just as we were moving up, and Yale was able to pull away to win.

    It was a great race! Two evenly matched crews dueling up the course would not yield a stroke to the other. The Yale women were gracious and complimentary as they greeted our crew, and our women knew they had raced with a top flight competitor. It was the fastest heat of the round, and we were right in it to the end. So close!

    While the dream of winning at Henley was lost, we had the victory in the Elite Four against prestigious Thames Rowing Club and Boston’s premier Riverside Boat Club at Reading Amateur to give us the elusive win on the Thames to add to gold on the Charles and the Schuylkill. Riverside advanced to the final at HWR from the other bracket only to lose to University of East London, who defeated Yale in the semi-final in another blazing fast round.

    Our  top boat rowed with grace and determination in every outing. Senior Capt. Katie Ross leaves a legacy of willfulness and intentionality that will serve her boat mates Emily Martin ’15, Courtney Payne ’15, Capt.Elect Mary Bryan Barksdale ’15, and coxswain Sophie Berube ’16 in campaigns next season. Katie’s contribution to rowing at Bowdoin cannot be measured. Our Second Boat, stroked by Nora Hefner ’15 and with Maddy Livingston ’16 at the helm, was powered by Erica Hummel ’15, Amy Spens ’15, and Audrey DeFusco ’16 in the body of the boat. They earned the respect of the regatta in their best row of the season for their “tenacity, grit, and no nonsense racing” in spite of an opening day loss to Henley Rowing Club. Our spare, Liza Tarbell ’17, captured and inspired the hearts of her team mates with her irrepressible humor and energy and gutsy performance in the single at Reading.

    Our trip to the Mother River draws to a close with the whole squad grateful for the support from home. Hearing from parents, alumni, and friends in the college and town has meant the world to the team. Thank you all! We return to the New Meadows more seasoned as athletes and people. We have raced, and won, and lost in the highest level available to us, on a river of historic racing and beauty. We have been a part of the pageant of international competition, and with Kipling have met with “Triumph and Disaster” and are learning to “treat those two imposters just the same.” Above all we have learned to respect, trust, and even love one another through the gift of racing boats. Thank you all for helping make it possible.

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Henley Bound!

After an undefeated season which included open water wins in every race, including the Aberdeen Dad Vail in the Open event, Bowdoin’s First Women’s Four is heading to England for the Henley Women’s Regatta, June 20-22! Senior Captain Katie Ross is stroking the boat, with Emily Martin ’15, Courtney Payne ’15, and Captain -Elect Mary Bryan Barksdale ’15 in the bow. Coxing the “Girls In The Boat” is Sophie Berube ’16.

The Second Boat is also competing in the HWR and has been gaining speed with every outing. Nora Hefner ’15 is the stroke with Erica Hummel ’16, Amy Spens ’15, and Audrey DeFusco ’16 behind her. Coxswain Maddy Livingston ’16 has the helm.
Our Spare, Liza Tarbell ’17, will compete in the Intermediate 1x at Reading Amateur Regatta on June 14, where our First boat is entered in the Elite event and the Second is in the Intermediate event.

The HWR is our chance to compete with top flight international competition. In the Senior Four, we contend with American crews from Yale and Boston’s renowned Riverside, as well as the usual British powerhouses from Oxford Brookes, Thames RC and Marlow.

Loads of good information, including The Draw, may be found at hwr.org.uk, and check here for updates on the trip. Thanks  to all of you who have been so supportive in our preparation; the visits, dinners, camraderie, have been wonderful!  Wish us luck as we take it to the next level after a remarkable spring season!

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Women Win Dad Vail Again!

Bowdoin’s First Women’s Four completed an undefeated season with a gold medal row in the Open Heavyweight Four at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta on May 10.  And they won the gold in a squall of biblical proportion,  which only added to the epic character of their season.

The Bowdoin Navy entered six crews and advanced five to the semis and four then on to the finals.  The Lightweight Men went out in Friday’s qualifiers in a very tough heat, but with a very sturdy row.  Our Novice Men advanced to the semis, where they rowed their hearts out, but just missed advancing to the finals. 

The Novice Women’s Four capped a tremendous season with a fourth place finish in a national field.  The Second Women’s Four rowed its final in building slop and chop to a sixth place finish.  It was bad enough that coaches expected the next race, the Women’s Open Four to be delayed, but the race went off in spite of the wind driven waves. The weather was in fact bad enough that it delayed the Open Men’s Four by roughly three hours; when the men finally took the course the air had settled, and they rowed to a terrific fourth place finish with the best in the country. It had been eleven years since the men had raced in the finals, and they raced it with class and determination. 

But it was the Women’s Open Four that captured the amazement and hearts of the regatta.  Bowdoin led at the bridge in spite of the horrendous conditions, and then the heavens opened and blew down the challenge of the age!  By 1000 meters the rain was blasting the boats, driven by winds gusting over 35 knots.  The crews could not be seen from the bike path, let alone from the stands, until they suddenly emerged out of a wall of rain with 250 meters to go.  The crowd erupted just to see all six crews on the water!  Plowing through the troughs of water, Bowdoin finished seven seconds ahead of U Mass and Nova, to claim its second gold in two years in Philadelphia. 

Bowdoin had an epic showing at Dad Vail this year: five crews to the semis, four to the finals, and a gold for the women for 6 consecutive years of medals on the Schuylkill.

Both the First and Second Women’s Fours will compete at Henley Women’s Regatta on 20-22 June. After great success on the national scene, it is time to row abroad!


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