Members of Genesee Rowing Club’s race team will travel on Oct. 21-22 to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to compete in the 53rd Head of the Charles Regatta.
HOCR is considered to be the pinnacle of racing competition in the U.S., with divisions for high school, college, masters, elite and adaptive rowing. This year’s event will include over 60 events with 2,275 entries from 789 clubs from the U.S. and around the world.
GRC will compete in the masters category, which is open to rowers ages 30 and older. Races at that level are divided into groups by average age of rowers, the kind of boat being raced and by gender. GRC rowers will compete in the eight-plus — men’s 50-plus and women’s 50-plus — and four-plus — men’s 40-plus and women’s 50-plus — sweep races, meaning their boats with eight and four rowers, will make use of a coxswain, the lone participant not rowing whose job is to navigate the course and execute the race plan.
A “head” race in rowing means that the race is a time trial. Boats paddle up to a starting chute, and increase their power as they begin the race at the start line. The time at the start as well as at the finish line is recorded for a total time, with the addition of any penalties for race infractions.
Because of the popularity of HOCR, there will be from 27 to 57 entries in each of GRC’s races. On average, one boat will pass through the starting chute every 10 seconds. There will be plenty of time during the 4,800-meter, or 3-mile, race for strong boats to assert their power by attempting to pass slower boats. That, coupled with the many turns of the Charles River and numerous bridges through which the boats must pass, makes for excellent and exciting racing.
GRC is overseen by head coach Nicki Brugler. It was established in 2008, and rows on the Genesee River and Erie Canal from its boathouse in Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park. It offers beginner and experienced classes for adults in sweep rowing and sculling, and has racing opportunities for rowers of all levels. Rowers who have high school or college experience, but have “aged out” of their rowing level, are encouraged to join. Rowing provides a means of cross-training for other sports.
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