JUSTIN FORTIER ’18
Big invitationals are the hallmark of the fall season for the Trinity Men and Women’s Rowing Teams. This year’s competition began at home on the Connecticut River with the Head of the Riverfront Regatta. The first boats pushed off from the starting line north of Wethersfield Cove at 8:30 a.m. sharp on the morning of Sunday Oct. 2. A gentle fog settled over the city, shrouding the top of Traveler’s Tower and City Place with a cool mist. The course for the day stretched 2.25 miles long – about 3.6 kilometers up river past the Trinity Boathouse, under the Charter Oak Bridge, by Great River Park before finishing at Riverfront Plaza.
The event drew 600 entries of 8, 4, 2 and 1-man boats pulling from 64 clubs and schools. For most in attendance, this was the first invitational regatta of the year. Rowing at the college level often recruits novice members at the beginning of freshman year, so unlike the sports with complete roster and intensive pre-seasons, rowing clubs take a while to become prepared to launch off into competition.
Trinity entered several boats in to competition, two men’s 8x and two women’s 8x, two men’s 4x, and three women’s 4x, a pair of men’s 2x and an alumni women’s 8x for good measure.
For some of the smaller boat events, competition was sparse and spread amongst the 35 race sets of the day. The larger events were filled with stiff competition such as Weslyean, UCONN, UMass, NYU, Coast Guard and Sacred Heart. For Trinity, the morning started off with the Men’s Open 8x at 9:15 am, where Trinity placed second, trailing first-place Wesleyan by seven seconds, finishing with a time of 14:58.88 – a full nine seconds before the UMass boat. The second Bantam boat closed out the eight boat field, and while it was not the result the younger men were looking to achieve, the whole roster, is suffering from a few key members on the injury list after the Kappa Sigma porch incident earlier this year.
The team and the fraternity have always had strong ties, and many of the members were present when the structure failed. In addition to the minor injuries, the Women’s team still has 2-3 unable to practice and the Men’s team has 4x members. At Sunday’s race, Vanessa Jones ‘19 spoke to the incident. “It was really hard to watch everyone compete today, I really miss being able to row with the team.” The teams have already had some return, and it looks as if a few more will be able to return to practicing before the season is over.
The Lady Bantams fought hard in the 8x, with the first boat coming in third behind Wesleyan and UCONN at a formidable time of 17:30.54. The second boat for the women slide in the second to last position above the second boat from Sacred Heart.
A highlight of the day was a team of Trinity Women’s Alumni that put together a team that notched a time of 16:51.43, while they technically competed in a class alone, their time was formidable across the women’s categories.
The smaller boats did well in their own rights; the men were 5th out of 15 in the open 4x and the women locked down 4th out of 14. The men’s open 2x was a field of four and Trinity secured 2nd and 3rd place.
The Head of the Riverfront is always a great way to start of the year; although it lacks the fanfare of the upcoming Head of Charles, it is a great way for the Bantams to test their mettle on their home course before taking on bigger fields of competition.