GW struggles amid talent at Head of the Charles

In one of the largest regattas in the world, the GW men’s and women’s crew teams fell far short Saturday of declaring themselves the “Head of the Charles” in Boston.

Of course, little more is expected when 5,000 of the best rowers on Earth come together on a three-mile stretch of river pinned in by the Boston triumvirate of Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

In front of 250,000 spectators and under a clear sky on a perfect day for racing, the Colonials finished with satisfactory, if not satisfying results.

The men’s varsity entered one boat in the men’s eight championship and finished 35th out of 45 crews. The U.S. National Team won the race with a time of 14:09.65. GW finished the course in 15:55.5. The highest finishing collegiate crew was Princeton University (14:19.86), which finished second.

The men were positive about the race.

“The placing wasn’t really important because of the competition we faced,” GW men’s head coach Erich Shuler said. “We would have liked to have finished higher, but we had a really solid race. The men rowed really well and pulled extremely hard. They said it was a little traumatic on them how hard they pulled. They had to quit rowing as soon as they hit the finish line.”

Shuler said he was most encouraged by the fact that his boat gained 20 seconds on Georgetown University (15:47.9) since the Head of the Potomac Sept. 26.

“It was a great race, technically, compared to last year at Boston,” said Shawn Hoyer, the men’s co-captain.

The women’s results were not so positive. The women’s varsity eight raced in the women’s eight championship and finished 41st out of 59 crews with a time of 17:50.28. The Danish National Team won the race with a time of 15:44.66. The highest finishing collegiate crew was the University of Virginia (16:23.33), which finished fourth.

The women also entered a boat in the women’s lightweight eight, and finished 11th out of 15 boats. Arco Training Center, a club team from Indiana, won the race with a time of 16:26.19. The Colonial women finished in 18:38.11. The fastest collegiate crew was Princeton (17:06.39), which finished third.

“The boats had pretty good first halves, and then they kind of fell apart. They did not have great rows,” GW women’s head coach Steve Peterson said. “They don’t have that togetherness yet, but that can come with work. They can get it by the spring, which is when the real season starts.”

The Colonials continue the fall season Saturday at the Princeton Chase.

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