Rowing races boat in Head of Charles Regatta

The Owls placed seventh after competition Saturday.

The Head of the Charles Regatta is among the largest rowing events in the world. In a head race of 45 teams, the Owls placed seventh after competition Saturday.

With a time of 19:36, the Owls finished 20 seconds behind first place. They beat boats including Penn State University and Fordham University.

With the Owls placing in the Top 50 percent, they have secured a chance to race in the same event at next year’s Head of the Charles Regatta.

The regatta offered a peculiar course in which the Owls had to navigate a river which new coach Rebecca Smith Grzybowski called complicated earlier in the week.

“[There are] sharp turns, six bridges and dozens of crews on the course with you,” Grzybowski said. “Crashes are fairly common and spectators love to gather by the bridges for good viewing of high-risk areas.”

The Owls’ goal was to race as quickly as the Charles River, with its obstacles, would allow them to.

According to Grzybowski, this is the first time the Owls have competed in the Head of Charles Regatta in years. However, sophomore coxwain Eleanor Oken had raced on the Charles River twice before.

In front of Oken were senior stroke seat Paige O’Sullivan, senior third-seat Claudia Loeber, senior second-seat Joanna Sutor, and junior bow Kara Carson.

The rest of the Owls participated in the Philadelphia Children’s Foundation 2.25 Regatta.  Proceeds benefit the education of Philadelphia youth.

“With some of our most experienced rowers racing in Boston, the regatta in Philadelphia is a good chance for some of the newer team members to step up and gain some more race experience,” Grzybowski said.

Last week was a strong first Regetta for Temple’s newer members as the novice 4+ boat finished second in its race. The result was a product of the Owls’ focus on technique, specifically the catch.

“This week we have done a little more work on higher rates- with an eye to the Head of the Schuylkill next weekend,” Grzybowski said. “[The Head of the Schuylkill] will be our last race of the fall, so we are looking to close out the season with a strong showing.”

Whether or not the team has another strong performance, Grzybowski will continue to work with lineup in order to find the absolute best mixture of rowers. This process will continue into the spring.

As for the final regatta of the fall, the Head of Schuylkill Regatta will be held on October 27-28.

Liam McKenna can be reached at

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