Men’s crew to compete in Henley Royal Regatta
By Elisabeth Lubiak , The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Coming off a second place finish at the 2012 IRA National Championship, the Dartmouth lightweight crew team’s varsity eight has made the voyage across the Atlantic to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames River in England this week.
The men’s crew team will be one of 68 teams competing in the Temple Challenge Cup. Only six of these teams are from the United States, and three teams — Harvard University, Brown University and Dartmouth — come from the Ivy League.
The Henley Royal is structured as a series of knockout races, with the winners of head-to-head races proceeding to the next round. The tournament, which begins with preliminary heats on June 27, culminates with the championship race on July 1.
Dartmouth lightweight rower Phil Grisdela ’12 said there is always an intense atmosphere at the elite event.
“This is an event that attracts some of the fastest boats in our class in the world, so we know that the competition is going to be tough,” Grisdela said. “I’m looking forward to lining up against some of the best in the world and seeing what we can do.”
Dartmouth will start the tournament with a preliminary heat against the Brown junior varsity heavyweight team.
Unlike the Big Green, most teams competing in the Temple Challenge Cup are heavyweight crews. As a lightweight boat, the team may have some advantages over several of its opponents, according to Big Green rower Henry Luehrman ’12.
“We have a strong base fitness from hours of extra aerobic training in order to stay at weight,” Luehrman said. “We’ll be able to sustain a top speed for a long time and hopefully outlast any big moves our opponents try. My goal and my expectation is that we keep our cool, make our opponents pay the price to stay up next to us and ultimately move out and take control of the piece.”
Because the regatta includes teams from across the world, the Big Green is unfamiliar with its competitors, according to coxswain Andrea Daley ’12.
“I’m not sure we have any real expectations going into this event, since with the exception of the Harvard lightweights who are also in the event, we know pretty much nothing about who we are racing,” Daley said. “We do know that we have been rowing pretty well in our training since the IRA ended our regular season, and I think we’ve gained some speed, so it will be exciting to see how far we can make it.”
Daley said that the event differs from any of Dartmouth’s regular season events, both in terms of structure and atmosphere.
“I’m pretty excited about the fact that this is such a big event over here,” she said. “It’s way different than any rowing event in the United States, since it mixes all levels of rowing, from high school to elite. I’m excited both to have one last regatta with the team and also to be able to participate and compete in this atmosphere. It is definitely unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced in my rowing career.”
Aside from participating in the regatta, several Big Green rowers are hoping to travel while in the U.K., according to Luehrman.
“A lot of parents are coming to watch the racing,” he said. “I am hoping to visit some of the major landmarks — Oxford and London, especially — before venturing home, provided we have the time. Hopefully, we won’t have much. If we win our races, we’ll be pretty busy from Wednesday to Sunday.”