Numbers alone speak volumes for the success of the Fall Crew Season: 55 student-athletes take part in the program that continues in the winter and culminates in the spring season with local regattas — and beyond. While weather, lack of officials and COVID-related obstacles may have muddied the water forcing cancellations of every regatta to date, the team remains focused on improving and looks forward to a string of upcoming regattas this season.
We caught up with tri-captains Aidan Cusack '23, Norah Lee '22 and Aden Solomon '22 to find out more about their fall season and the highly selective Head of the Charles Regatta that they will participate in next week.
“Motivating the team has been hard this year due to the lack of races,” said Solomon. “However, both me and my co-captains have really tried to bring the team together through team bonding.”
Some of that motivation was fueled by team member’s success on land. “The JV/Varsity team has set a bunch of personal records on our 5K erg tests for this fall,” said Lee. “We're also very excited to finally start racing.”
Cusack acknowledged the team’s special bond this season, without racing, and how the team may benefit in the long run. “Now that things are starting to get back to normal and our practices are in person, the team feels more unified and teammates can help each other through hard practices.”
Seven GFS Fall Crew athletes will take part in the elite Head of the Charles Regatta, a three-day event from Oct. 22-24. The Charles, which began in 1965, has attracted hundreds of thousands of athletes and spectators to the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. The athletes and events include: M 4x+: Cusack, Turner Burns, Solomon, Otis Harris ‘22 and COX Lee; M 1x: Josh Cappiello ‘24; and W 1X: Cara Appleberry ‘24.
“We’re definitely preparing for the Charles,” said Cusack. “Physically, eating a lot starting now to make sure we have a lot in the tank come race day. Making sure we are drinking a lot of water and getting a good night’s sleep each night is also extremely important to be in good physical shape before the race. In terms of the mental game, staying determined and focused on the goal, but also staying excited about the race, and being happy that we get such an amazing opportunity to race against the best rowers in the world.”
According to Solomon, the rowers have set some high — but achievable — goals including the M 4x+ to finish in the top 50% of boats in their category and the M 1x and the W 1x to finish in the top 25% of boats in their category. If achieved, GFS will automatically qualify to compete in the same categories in 2022.
Solomon concurred that in addition to these goals, the experience of being at the Head of the Charles can’t be overlooked. “The main goals for all the rowers are to have fun, enjoy the experience of rowing on the Charles River, and make sure we don’t crash any boats!”
“During our past races, rowing down the Charles River with my boatmates felt like the culmination of our hard work for this season,” added Lee. “We’ve spent hours and hours practicing late in the evenings and early on weekend mornings; to see it pay off in the biggest race of the season is an unforgettable feeling!”
photo credit: Sara Cherubini ‘22