Over this past weekend, the Sacred Heart women's rowing team ventured to Boston, Massachusetts for the famous two-day Head of the Charles Regatta. After rigorous training and seat racing amongst the team, it was established that rowers Kaitlyn Blanda, Amanda Casey, Lynn Ciccarelli, Danielle French, Allison McCusker, Katelyn McGowan, Danielle Palmaccio, Jennifer Pampillonio and coxswains Christina Pesci and Kaitlin Rivest would represent the university at the annual event.
The Head of the Charles Regatta is the world's largest 2-day rowing event, bringing rowers from all around the world to race its 3-mile course. This year over 300,000 participants took the challenge, passing under five bridges and rowing through twists and turns, including a starboard 90° degree turn.
Coxswains Pesci and Rivest found themselves studying the course for days; trying to create a mental picture of the best path they could take their boat on. "It is a coxswains greatest challenge, " said Rivest days before the race. This was a great challenge for the coxswains, trying to abide by all the strict rules and stay calm at the same time making sure no penalties would be assigned to our crews.
On Saturday, upperclassmen Pampillonio, Casey, and McGowan, and their new freshman teammates McCusker and Pesci prepared themselves for one of their best, yet challenging rows. The Collegiate 4+ embraced the water nervous and excited. Throughout their race they faced several challenges, including a collision with another boat. Pesci found a tight path along the starboard side of the course but had difficulties maintaining it as an uncooperative coxswain proceeded to cut her off several times. The girls kept their cool and gave all they had to cross the finish line in 21:31:50. This placed them 19th out of 33 boats in their race, a great victory for the boat and team.
On Sunday, the lightweight 4+ which included, Blanda, Ciccarelli, French, Palmaccio, and Rivest were cheered on by family and teammates as they headed to the racecourse. The lightweight 4+ trained rigorously for this race knowing the competition would be tough in this category. Among the other competitors were crews from Germany and Canada as well as members of our national team training center and prestigious schools as Princeton and Radcliff. Coxswain Rivest spent hours and days studying this course and was confident in her knowledge as well as her rowers. Just as the crew, the lightweight 4+ also found themselves facing challenges as being cut off and having interference from other crews. This did not stop them and they finished strong ahead of two boats with the time of 21:04:50 placing them 12th out of 14.
Everybody felt a great sense of accomplishment for the Sacred Heart Rowing team. This is the best performance the team had in the prestigious regatta and they are confident that they will be going back next season with more team members and ready to do even greater things.
For now, the team prepares for their next race Fall Mets where they are certain they will perform well.