FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. After losing 16 seniors from last years Connecticut Boat Club, coach Liz Trond was not sure how strong some of her teams would be heading into the fall rowing season. A victory at the Head of the Charles in the Youth Womens 4+ surprised Trond and the rest of the CBC coaching staff.
The team of Meg Galloway, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Victoria Babchak, India Knight and coxswain Ali Hornung won the race in 18:51.34. It was only the second victory at the Head of the Charles for Trond, who won with a Varsity 8 girls crew from Maritime Rowing Club in 2009.
We were certainly hoping for it, Trond said. It definitely wasnt something we expected. Its very special.
Babchak is from Wilton, Hornung from Weston and Knight attends Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich. Galloway is from Ridgefield, and Fitzpatrick is from Cheshire. Connecticut Boat Club is based in Norwalk.
CBCs eight of Katherine Squitieri, Abby Stevenson, Paige Voigt, Katie deHaas, Molly Geffs, Sarah Schwartz, Kylie Maier, Bea Nash and Steph Leone started in 62nd place and moved up to 22nd in the 75-boat race. Two double sculls also raced for CBC. Kendra Shutts and Lizzie Steinborn finished 23rd, while Emily Olsen and Maggie Roberts finished 27th.
The Head of the Charles in Boston is one of the largest regattas in the world, with youth, college and masters competitions. In Head regattas, boats start one at a time and are placed by time.
After powerful showings in the past few years, the CBC was expected to need time for rebuilding after losing so many rowers to graduation. We dont have as many superstars as weve had in the past, Trond said. But its a real team. Theyre really rowing for each other.
The victory by the 4+ and the strong showing by the eight means CBC will get two boats in next years Head of the Charles, along with any other boats that get in via the lottery. CBC returns to the water this week for the Head of the Schuylkill Philadelphia and then to the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival in Newport Beach, Calif., on Nov. 4. Some athletes will compete in the Head of the Riverfront in Hartford that weekend as well. After graduating so many seniors, this is an incredible result for this group, Trond said.
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