Follow Men's Crew on Henley Trip - Updated July 2nd
After months of fundraising and training, the WPI Men's Crew team has departed for England and a trip to the historic Henley Royal Regatta. The boats will also be participating in the Marlow (on the 2012 Olympic Course) and Reading Town Regatta.
Follow updates below as head coach Larry Noble will be checking in during the trip or follow head women's coach Jason Steele's blog of the trip.
Monday, June 9th
It has been an extraordinary month. The guys have worked extremely hard and the rowing has really improved. In fact, I have to say that so far, the experience has been exactly what I hoped it would be. The younger rowers have improved, and fitness is higher than it ever has been. We will be significantly faster next year as a result of this month of training. Last Friday, we boated up and the eight pulled a 6:11 2150m (Henley distance) going 2K in under 5:50 in a light tail. The four was just above 7 mins for the 2150 and the pair just below 8 minutes. It was a tremendous piece.
The guys seem to be really enjoying the camp. Although fatigue has definitely set in, they remain upbeat and eager, and now that the trip is nearing, the excitement level is rising.
We leave Monday for our great adventure, and I would once again like to thank everyone who has contributed to the trip financially and otherwise. We raised over $30,000 through donations and fund raising. This is truly extraordinary given the economic circumstances we are all facing and the team really appreciates it. For those of you expecting fleeces, they have been ordered and I hope they arrive this week.
Also, a special thanks to Meghan Schlesman and her family for hosting rowers throughout the month and feeding the team dinner this week, and Pat and Linda Guida for feeding the team breakfast last Friday.
I will try to send out updates while we are England. I know many of you will be there and I look forward to seeing you.
Friday, June 12th
We are racing next weekend (Sat and Sun) at Marlow on the Olympic Course. Fri the 26 are Henley qualifiers, Sat the 27th is Reading Town Regatta, and the HRR starts on Wends, July 1.
As soon as I have a phone, I will send out it's number, and I will be checking e-mails as often as I can.
Sunday, June 21st
We just got back from the Olympic course where the eight and the four both finished a very close second (canvas) in the intermediate 1 events (equivalent of temple cup). The eight was just behind Cambridge lights and the four behind Southampton. The pair also made the final finishing fourth.
The Olympic venue is really amazing and it was really fun to have all the boats in the final. This race was 1000 meters long. Yesterday, we raced the full 2K on the Olympic course and the eight made the final by .14 over Bristol University. They were 6th in the final which was won by Oxford Books College, the top ranked British Crew. The four made the semis and the pair the rep. there were 32 entries in all events and the level of rowing is really impressive. I saw very little bad rowing out there. Each race over the past couple of days has been better and better. Connor is feeling a bit better. We will see how he feels on Tuesday and make a decision on if he will be able to race in the HRR.
The eight will not have to qualify for the main regatta. they are into the main draw. the four and the pair will have to qualify on Friday.
The trip has been a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. It took us a while to get the rented boats rigged the way we wanted and Jason and Pat worked for 3 hours yesterday between races setting shoe heights and angles. It made a lot of difference to the guy's comfort on the water and the rowing improved immediately. The guys went to Windsor Castle last Friday and are off tomorrow and we are going to London. then it's time to prepare for qualifying and Reading which is only 750 meters long.
We are having a great time.
Tuesday, June 23
The coaches are working hard and beginning to feel the stress of
the upcoming qualifying time trial; the athletes are setting their
focus on preparing themselves mentally and physically for some
intense competition, and I, needing something to do have
volunteered to update the blog, and most importantly provide some
photos of our journey here.
As most have already now heard, the town is lovely, the weather cold and cloudy, and the accomodations: SNUG.
The Men have finished their racing at Marlow and posted respectable times. The real dance begins this Friday with the Qualifier for Henley. I will give you some updates as the racing begins and provide some photos of each boat. I have posted photos of the venue and the Marlow Regatta at the following website if interested. They can be viewed at: http://picasaweb.google.com/jasteele1972/WPIHenley2009
Since I am new to the blogging thing and only heard of picassa about two hours ago, bear with me as I figure out the logistics behing this technology. If there is anything specific you would like to see or hear about feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to you soon.
Wednesday, June 24 - http://wpirowing.blogspot.com/2009/06/walk-from-home.html
Today had the makings of a slow day. Two practices, staying
local. As such I intended to provide a description of the town and
have downloaded some photos that show the comfy rooming, and the
walk from home to the water. I figured this will give all of you at
home a taste of the day-to-day experiences. I figured I would show
you that life here isn't all excitement, but then my intention for
the blog took a detour as the team happened to run into
David Hasslehoff from Baywatch and he was so
impressed with their physiques that he invited them to his house to
attend a surprise party for his daughter? Just another typical day
in England I suppose. That said, with any luck these guys will take
some photos of the Hoff and have some great stories to share with
us tomorrow. I'll keep you posted since this is clearly as exciting
as the Royal Henley Regatta!!
Take care, and check out the recent additions to the photo album which include a typical room for four, and the walk from home, through town, to the water.
Thursday, June 25 - http://wpirowing.blogspot.com/2009/06/stood-up-by-hoff.html
Well disappointment reigned as the team was stood up by the
Hoff. About 15 minutes before David Hasslehoff's car was supposed
to pick them up, his assistant called to cancel. The Hoff has some
last minute filming required in Scotland and was flying out,
requiring cancelation of their evening at his place. With any luck
he'll re-schedule and we'll give you the update. For now, back to
Another day of double practices. The boats row at 9AM and 3PM and are getting ready for the time-trials tomorrow. While the 8 is automatically qualified for the main event, the pair and the four need to race tomorrow to prove themselves worthy of consideration for the main days of racing. Corey and Max are tearing it up in the pair, and Nick, Ricky, Donk, and Zack are starting to get a real feel for their line-up. That said, the place is filling up and the number of crews and the quality of rowing here is truly impressive. I'll post some photos of activity at the venue either later today or with tomorrow's post. The guys feel confident about their chances and we'll obviously let you know as soon as we get the results.
After the qualifiers, its off to the Reading Regatta on Saturday. Should be an exciting several days!
Friday, June 26 - http://wpirowing.blogspot.com/2009/06/well-qualified.html
It was great day for the team. The weather was perfect as the
Four and the Pair set out for their qualifing race. The competition
was stiff, with the pair needing to place in the top 3 boats, and
the four needing to place in the top seven of twenty-six crews! The
pair set off first with an outstanding row, gaining ground on the
boats in front of them Corey and Max got the job done! They
solidified a berth in the Regatta and if they continue on their
track of improvement, their best is yet to come. The four appeared
to have a rough go. They didn't demonstrate the sound technique the
coaches have begun to expect, but Nick, Ricky, Donk, and Zack
PULLED like mad-men, knowing this was a do or die situation! In the
end, they bested 19 crews to prove they too deserve a spot in this
Smiles all around! Quite a day.....
I have posted shots of the venue and some of the tonight's racing. The official Regatta begins on Wednesday, with the Four, Pair, and Eight all qualified!
Tomorrow its off to Reading for a full day of racing at the Reading Town Regatta. I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, June 28 - http://wpirowing.blogspot.com/2009/06/great-day-in-reading.html
Saturday was another fabulous day for the team. After rowing the
eight miles from Henely to Reading the boats took part in the 100+
year tradition known as the Reading Town Regatta. A 850 meter race
that involved several rounds we faired incredibly well. The Pair
progressed through three rounds finishing up 1st in their division;
they were followed by the four which would not be outdone, also
winning their event! The day ended dramatically with the Men's
Eight racing in two events, the Senior Eight and the Intermediate
Eight. Ironically, our crew faced off against the Kent Eight in
both events. Kent is a top seeded crew in our event at Henley, and
this gave the men a taste of the speed they will see this week. In
the first go, our men lead for half the race but did not manage to
maintain pressure on Kent, who struck a 40 SPM to race past us for
the win. Determined to avenge themselves, the eight returned to the
line for a second shot at Kent. Racing the entire course at 40 SPM
the men took the lead and never looked back. Leading by a length by
the finish the 8 successfully won the Senior Eight event. With ALL
athletes winning an event, all athletes were awarded beautifully
engraved pewter steins. Hopefully some of these will update the
1985 Reading Regatta Steins that grace the back of our
I have posted some pictures of the racing, and the very memorable row between Reading and Henley. This row involved several hours of rowing with adventure at every step. Special thanks to Coach Guelakis who biked the entire way manually operating the three locks each crew had to pass through. The photos are a must see, and the adventure home was something these guys will talk about for years to come.
The draw for the Regatta also took place yesterday. The Eight drew the Brown Freshmen Eight which won Eastern Sprints, the Four drew Reading University, and the Pair drew Oxford Brookes. Needless to say it will be a tough day of racing. We'll keep you posted here.
Wednesday, July 1st - http://wpi.prestosports.com/sports/mcrew/2008-09/news/mcrew070109meet
Worcester, MA and Henley-on-Thames, England --- A pair of WPI boat crews performed well at the opening-round of competition at the world-renowned Henley River Regatta in England on Wednesday but narrowly missed their opportunity to advance into the next round of races. It was the first time the university had competed in the internationally known crew event. WPI was one of just 27 American institutions participating this year.
WPI's eight and four-person boats rowed in tight races on Wednesday, each coming within a length and a half of winning their opening-round races. Competing in the Temple Cup race, the varsity eight was narrowly defeated by Brown University. After the completion of 12 of the 16 first-round Temple Cup races, Brown, with 6 minutes, 22 seconds, had the fastest time. WPI's trailing margin of 1 1/2 lengths was the second smallest.
In the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, WPI's four-person boat lost to Reading University in England. WPI and Yale University were the only two American boats to qualified for the 16-team competition. Both the Temple Cup and Prince Albert Challenge Cup races will conclude on Sunday, July 5.
On Thursday, Corey Stephens (Douglas, MA) and Max French (Harwinton, CT) will race as a two-man team in the Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup, continuing WPI's historic participation in the regatta.
Now in its 160th year, the Henley River Regatta features 468 boats from 15 countries. WPI's appearance wraps up a two-week trip to England that featured racing on the 2012 Olympic course and winning performances at the Reading Town Regatta. WPI, coached by Larry Noble, finished a program-best second at the New England Championships this spring and last October performed well at the historic Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
The WPI varsity eight rowers are Tobin McGee (Rye, NY), Scott Gary (Lubbock, TX), Hank Moore (Jaffrey, NH), Ben Johnson (Northford, CT), Connor McGrath (Troy, NY), Sebastien Cohn (Orinda, CA), Arthur Gager (Kennebunk, ME), Andrew Sandefer (New Orleans, LA) and coxswain Bethany Bouchard (Nashua, NH).
The varsity four are Nick Vitello (Tolland, CT), Ricky Holak (Windham, NH), Jeff Onderdonk (Colechester, CT), Zack Theoharidis (Sedgwick, ME) and coxswain Brenna Colleary (Southboro, MA).
From WPI Athletics Website
Thursday, July 2nd - http://wpirowing.blogspot.com/2009/07/facing-heat-at-henley.html
I was surprised to see that its been so long since my last
update. This week has been a blur. Following Reading the guys had a
day off on Sunday, practiced on Monday and Tuesday, and most
importantly began their racing yesterday! I've uploaded A LOT of
photos from this first day, hoping you'll get a feel for the pomp
and circumstance surrounding the racing here.
As the title of this post suggests, yesterday we really faced the heat! Record setting temperatures lead the stewards to announce an almost unprecedented "sport-coat optional" ruling at about 11:30 AM. On top of 90+ degree temps, WPI drew arguably two of the hottest first round opponents. Men's Four squared first against the Prince Albert Cup favored crew, Reading University. The Reading crew demonstrated why they are favored to win with a very strong performance that put them about 2 lenghts ahead of our four. Nick, Ricky, Donk, and Zack pulled hard; while disappointed to be done, they felt good about their race.
Later in the day, the 8 faced off against the Eastern Sprint Champion Freshmen, Brown University. Battling for a chance to progress into the next round of the Temple Cup, the WPI 8 battled strongly but could not find a way to overcome an extremely fast Brown 8. The Brown 8 posted the fastest time of the day in our event and our men trailed by slightly more than a length. They were proud of their effort and felt they could not have put out a better performance. With that, their racing comes to an end and the younger guys look forward to their next trip to Henley
We now look forward to the pair's race later today. Corey and Max begin their racing today and are excited to provide us some good racing to watch over the next couple of days. I'll keep you updated on their progress and will continue to post photos of all the excitement here. Record temperatures expected in the next several days...lets hope Corey and Max bring some heat to the race course!