CAMBRIDGE (AP) — OTC Amsterdam became the first Dutch crew in the history of the Head of the Charles to win the men’s eights title on Sunday.
OTC Amsterdam edged the entry from the US Rowing Center by 1.48 seconds while 2011 champion Harvard finished third in the event at the 49th annual regatta on the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston.
In the women’s eights, The Cambridge Boat Club’s “Super Eight” entry edged the US Rowing Center team by 0.80 of a second. The winning entry was composed of some of the world’s best single scullers rowing as a team.
The second day of the regatta took place in strong, swirling winds on the three-mile course. On Saturday, 20 course records were set in 29 events.
The winning Dutch boat had a wealth of international experience and four gold medalists. Coach Marc Emke credited coxswain Tim VandeEnde with skillfully navigating the tricky course with seven bridge underpasses, made even more difficult by the winds.
“He did the course very well,” Emke said. “It helped that the French boat ahead of us was also very fast and we didn’t have to pass anyone.”
In the regatta, boats race single file against the clock and are sent off in 15-second intervals.
The Dutch arrived Wednesday and used a borrowed shell from Harvard for practice and competition.
“It helped that it was very similar to ours,” Emke said.
Elle Logan, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the US eights, was the stroke for The Cambridge Boat Club’s championship eight. The crew also included Olympic champion Miroslava Knapkova of Czechoslovakia and world silver medalist Emma Twigg of New Zealand.
Logan found herself competing against friends and former teammates on the US Rowing boat. She and the rest of the Cambridge crew only had a few practices together.
“The conditions today were more difficult,” said Logan, one of four crew members who also raced Saturday. “But these women are experienced and know how to move a boat.”
“Elle set the tone for the crew and had a really good rhythm,” coxswain John Carlson said. “It was scrappy, but we gelled enough to get the job done.”
Harvard and Virginia were awarded the first BNY Collegiate Challenge Cups for the best collegiate finishes in the men’s and women’s eights.
The swirling winds caused problems for a number of the crews. George Washington University, which narrowly avoided hitting a bridge abutment then impeded MIT, and the Minerva Boat Club both incurred one-minute penalties in the men’s eights.
The men’s fours went to the Camp Randall Rowing Club of Wisconsin, with US Rowing winning the women’s fours.
The collegiate eights men’s race was won by Drexel, with the women’s race going to Grand Valley State University Rowing Club.
Sharon Kaplan and Peter Morelli won the masters singles titles. In the lightweights, Nicolas Pratt was the men’s winner and Mary Jones took the women’s title.
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