Head of the River Charles, Boston: A win for Leander Club women and fifth place for the men
Leander Club sent 20 athletes and the Men’s and Women’s chief coaches, Matt Beechey and Ross Hunter, to represent them at this most prestigious event.
Conditions at Boston were calm early in the day but as the Championship crews lined up for the regatta’s blue ribbon events, a strong tail wind started to blow down the course.
First up was the Men’s event, led off by last year’s winners, Washington, soon followed by the US senior team starting 4th.
Leander Club as a new overseas entry were back down the starting field in 20th, steered by Jack Tottem. After a fast start, Leander looked strong going through the first of the timing points in 2nd place just behind the US national team. Finding a strong rhythm through the middle section Leander were narrowly squeezed into 3rd at the 2nd timing point only 0.3 seconds behind 2nd place finishers, Syracuse. As Leander approached the final section of the race they were quickly closing in on the Danish national team crew and although cox Tottem did an excellent job of judging the overtake he had to move from the best racing line to do so and this no doubt affected the crew’s time as they dropped to a very credible 5th by the finish line.
Matt Beechey, Men’s Chief coach said: “The athletes raced well over a course that presents challenges that they don’t encounter in the UK. We have had a fantastic time on and off the water and the support we have had from the club and its members has been incredible.”
Thirty minutes later, the women’s crew stroked by Flo Donald started 19th. At the first timing marker the crew were sat in second place, less than one second behind Penn University. As the racing progressed, the Leander women looked strong as they worked their way through the field of women’s eights in front of them. At the penultimate timing marker the Leander women still sat in 2nd place but showing grit and determination and excellent coxing by Morgan Baynham-Williams, they managed to finish the world famous championship course as winners.
This is such a fantastic result for not just the women’s squad but the whole club and all its members. Chief Women’s Coach, Ross Hunter said: “ The Head of the Charles is such an iconic event and to be part of it this year has been amazing. The athletes have performed superbly and I hope these results bring pride to all our members around the world, we are all so privileged to be part of the Leander Club.”
The Leander Club would like to thank Boston University for their incredible hospitality providing us with boats, oars and a beautiful boathouse in a prime location on the River Charles.
The incredible support of our members, in particular Paul Crudge, Dr Mark Ableson, and Sean and Bibi Colgan (The Colgan Foundation), made this trip happen. We are all so grateful to them.
Racing photo credits below: @allmarkone