The usually silent Potomac River underwent a festive change Saturday morning with the bustle of the 15th annual GW Invitational Crew Classic. Students, alumni and spectators gathered on the Waterfront to see both the Colonial men and women tie for fourth place in the regatta. The U.S. Naval Academy won the men’s event, taking seven first-place finishes and beating out second-place finisher Virginia. Virginia won the women’s event.
The invitational, part of D.C.’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, is the largest rowing regatta in the area and attracts hundreds of spectators and competitors from around the country. Fans and D.C. neighbors lined the scenic 2000-meter course.
Women’s co-captain Katy Gore said she enjoyed the atmosphere and appreciated the support.
“It’s a great event. It’s an opportunity for alumni to come together, along with people from the D.C. area,” she said. “We get a chance to see D.C. as a neighborhood and the harbor as a part of our campus.”
Senior men’s co-captain John Creedon said the atmosphere was perfect for his last home race.
“We had the rivalry, and we just went all out. Knowing the crowd was there, cheering at our home race was cool,” he said.
Temple won the men’s varsity eight race for the third straight year, finishing the 2000 meter course in 5:47.9, two seconds ahead of Georgetown. Temple came in tied for seventh place overall, and Georgetown finished third.
The women’s varsity eight ended with a photo finish at 6:53.3, with Georgetown finishing a split second ahead the Colonials (6:53.3).
Although the women were disappointed with their overall finish, co-captain Molly Hueller said the varsity eight time was where GW should be at this point in the season.
“The past week has been a good experience,” Hueller said. “These next few weeks will be a great chance for us to recover and really focus. Racing against the top teams showed us where we have to be to compete well at Eastern Sprints, and we hope to get a bid to the NCAA tournament.”
While the women were disappointed with their fourth-place overall finish, the men were pleased considering the team finished one man short.
Fourth seat Joe Richards’ oar came out of its oar lock in the final of the men’s varsity eight, making it impossible for him to continue rowing. Since a tournament rule states only the coxswain and one rower need to be in the boat for a team to finish, Richards jumped off after his oar, leaving his boat with one less man to pull its weight.
Said Hueller: “Sometimes the oar hits the water at a bad angle, but the rower can recover after a few strokes,” Hueller said. We were all in disbelief. I’ve never heard of the oar just coming out.”
The men’s and women’s second varsity eight teams finished second while the men’s and women’s novice teams finished second and fourth, respectively. Both crews also placed fourth at last year’s Classic.
The women compete next in the A-10 tournament April 27, in Camden, N.J. The men’s team faces Georgetown May 5.