The women's field for the 45th Head Of The Charles got a major boost today as Regatta organizers announce an all-star boat of internationally decorated rowers will compete as the Women's 'Great Eight' in the Women's Championship Eights event, Sunday, October 18th at 4:30 P.M. (EST). The Head Of The Charles is the world's largest rowing event, with more than 1,900 boats and 8,800 rowers competing throughout Regatta weekend.
"The Women's Great Eight is an incredible addition to a race that already features rowing's legendary oarswomen," said Fred Schoch, executive director of the Regatta. "The Head Of The Charles is a world-class event and this boat, in addition to the Men's Great Eight, builds upon an international field that is already spectacular."
All competitors in the women's composite boat are Olympic and FISA World Rowing Championship medalists. The Women's Great Eight crew is comprised of eight rowers--two US, two Dutch, two British rowers, a Kiwi, and a Canadian--with an American coxswain helming the boat:
- Susan Francia, USA: Gold medalist at 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the eight; double Gold medalist at 2009 World Championship in Poznan, Poland, in both the eight and the pair.
- Erin Cafaro, USA: Gold medalist at 2008 Olympics in the eight; double Gold medalist at 2009 World Championship in both the eight and the pair.
- Femke Dekker, Netherlands: Silver medalist at 2008 Olympics in the eight; Gold medalist in the four and Bronze medalist in eight at the 2009 World Championship.
- Nienke Kingma, Netherlands: Silver medalist at 2008 Olympics in the eight; Gold medalist in the four and Bronze medalist in eight at the 2009 World Championship.
- Annie Vernon, Great Britain: Silver medalist at the 2008 Olympics in the quad; Silver medalist in the double at the 2009 World Championship.
- Anna Benington, Great Britain: Bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics in the double; Silver medalist in the double at the 2009 World Championship.
- Jane Rumball, Canada: Finished fourth at the 2008 Olympics in the eight; 2008 Head Of The Charles winner in the Championship Women's Eights event; former Head Of The Charles course record holder for Championship Doubles in 2003.
- Emma Twigg, New Zealand: Finished fourth in the single at the 2009 World Championship; Gold medalist in the single in the 2007 Under-23 World Championship in Glasgow; reigning HOCR course record holder for Women's Championship Double in 2008.
- Katelin Snyder (coxswain), USA: Coxed the USA to the Gold Medal at this year's World Championship which, remarkably, was her second race with the senior National Team; Head Of The Charles 2008 Gold medalist for Women's Championship Eight (University of Washington).
Great Eight scullers, including Twigg and Rumball, will take advantage of a new Head Of The Charles' rule that allows select athletes to compete in both a Champion Sculling event AND a Championship Eight event. Regatta regulations stipulate most competitors may only race once at each annual Head Of The Charles, so the Great Eights are a rare exception to Regatta tradition. Twigg and Rumball are entered in the Women's Championship Singles on Saturday, October 17th, and will race again in the Championship Eights on Sunday, October 18th.
The Women's Great Eight follows in the footsteps of a similar men's crew, which was initially created at the Head of the River Race in Great Britain, and will also be entered in this year's Head Of The Charles Regatta. The Men's Great Eight is comprised entirely world-class scullers who will make the temporary switch to sweep rowing, while the Women's Great Eight is made up of both scullers and sweep rowers. Scullers row with two oars per person; sweep rowers use one oar per person.
Sponsors for both the Women's and Men's 'Great Eights' include the Head Of The Charles Regatta, Concept2 of Morrisville, Vermont, and Hudson Boast Works of London, Ontario, Canada.
Now in its 45th year, the Head Of The Charles Regatta is the world's largest regatta, attracting more than 8,800 rowers and 300,000 spectators to the banks of the Charles River. Races begin on Saturday morning, October 17 and conclude on Sunday evening, October 18 with both "Great Eight" entries rowing in the final events of the day, in the Championship Eights.
For more information and updates about all events, go to www.hocr.org.
This just in...
The Head Of the Charles Regatta also announced today a lineup change for the Men's Great Eight lineup: Olaf Tufte, of famed Norwegian Horten Roklubb, is unable to compete and will be replaced by Warren Anderson of Paso Robles, California, who was one of the top ten single scullers at the 2009 Rowing World Cup in Lucerne.