Stetson Crew rowed the most challenging head race course in the world without any penalties, without hitting any bridges, and with confidence and pride. Against international crews from Canada, England, and Iraqi, all in their events, including U.S. national identification boats, the Stetson University lightweight men and women rowed with composure and class.
"It is the top-of-the-food-chain at the Head of the Charles," says Coach Saint Sing. "Our goal was to come here, row the course without penalties, and be invited back for a more competitive stance in the future. There are over 100 judge referees along the 3 mile race, if you interfere with or impede another boat, or you don't yield, or worse cause a collision with oars, boats or 6 or 7 bridges--you get assessed time penalties. These racing conditions force the coxswains and crews to work more cohesively, to learn to work as a unit-these things can't really be practiced. It isn't until the pressure is on in a real-life race situation that your crew's mettle is tested. We came here to learn these things and we did that. For us, we had no illusions of winning medals, but we exceeded our goals on learning and coming together as competitors and this can only help us in our racing throughout the year."
"It was an awesome experience," said men's coxswain, Christina Versace.
"Versace did an incredible job on the course, we never felt the boat turn, she did great," said men's captain and stroke, Gary Marra.
"It was something I will remember the rest of my life," said Christina Kapusta, two seat of the women's light-four.
The Head of the Charles course winds through Harvard University, Cambridge, and Boston along the beautiful, manicured, Charles River and Soldier's Field Recreation areas. Stetson men completed the course in just less than 20 minutes and Stetson women in just over 20 minutes.
"Speed--a faster time--is the last thing to enter the equation at this race. It takes a year or so of racing the course, learning the complexity of the hair-pin turns, bridges, and learning to respect the field of competitors, in order to progress. We came here this year to learn and set our sights on these things and we accomplished that to the highest order. I am very, very proud of this team to come here and race under such high pressure, "big-time" college athletic conditions and do well. I mean, after all, Stetson's men rowed against Yale this weekend-Ivy League. The women raced against Leander- one of the world's premier rowing clubs. We are trying to reach higher which I believe, follows the directives of the university and certainly the vision I think Pres. Libby has asked the athletes of Stetson to pursue.
"After all, no one rises to low expectations," concluded Coach Saint Sing.