It's a little surprising to discover that England's fabled Leander Club had never travelled to the Head of the Charles before this year; after all, US teams have been travelling to Henley, Leander's home course, since approximately the late Middle Ages.
Nevertheless, two Leander crews made the trip for the first time this year, competing in the Men's and Women's Championship eights, with the women notching a superb win, starting from bow #19 and finishing just ahead of the collegiate winners, Penn.
"This is pretty much the first time most of us have ever raced it," said bow seat Ruth Siddorn. "The crew is actually pretty phenomenal, we've got an international cox, who made the course 4.5k instead of 4.8k. Our stroke seat came from Princeton last year, we've got some international athletes, everyone has pretty much as represented Great Britain at some point, some boat race winners. So it's pretty strong."
"We didn't expect to come out and win, we've been in singles for the season so far, And we've actually only jumped in the eight this week. But we've really felt it throughout the week, we went out and hit it hard. We knew we had a strong crew behind us [The crew from Ukraine started at bow 20, eds] and we just went for it."
"The Head of the Charles is amazing," added coxswain Morgan Baynham-Williams. "You not only turning up to race rowing crews that are at the top of the table, but also the the kind of crowds that are here. You've got so many sponsors, there's a real atmosphere to the event, and everyone even in the whole town of Boston is supporting it and behind it. So it is a very different atmosphere from a lot of head racing back home in the UK. I think it's just really cool to see rowing so well supported."
"I think for years now Leander have wanted to come over, and this year, we were lucky enough to have some members to help support us," she added. "We secured enough funding and kind of timing within the Olympic cycle to come over and race. And I think, hopefully, after the foundation we put in, it can be a more regular thing for the club."
"I think we've set a precedent now," said Siddorn. "And we just want to say thank you so much for everyone who was here especially to our sponsors. Hopefully we can be back next year as number one!"
Being English, all things about the trip needed to be properly done, so as row2k was asking crew members for an interview, the response we received was, "well, I'm illiterate, but she went to Oxford, so you can speak to her!"
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