The 2003 Head of the Charles

The HBS Men’s Crew competed in the Head of the Charles this past Saturday, earning a 13th place finish out of 41 crews in the Club Four event, with a time of 18:16.

The four consisted of rowers Jon Gibbons (OI), Mike Hernandez-Soria (OH), Josh Slocum (OG), and Charlie Ruch (NC). Coxswain Julie Kennedy (KSG ’03) steered an aggressive course down the three mile stretch, overtaking two crews along the way and taunting several more.

Three of this year’s four rowers were veterans of the Head of the Charles, having raced for their college teams at Harvard and Princeton. HBS stroke Jon Gibbons holds the current course record in the Championship Eights race–the weekend’s premiere event (other than the Club Four)–a mark he set in 1997 when he stroked the United States national team to a first place finish.

The crew’s grueling practice season began on Thursday, October 16th at about 4:30pm and came to a close the next morning, just before 8:00am.

In a motivational speech delivered moments before the start of the race, Boat Club President Josh Slocum appealed to the crew’s sense of dedication and sacrifice: “This is it guys–this is what we’ve been training for.”

Despite just two sessions on the water, the crew had a solid performance in Saturday’s race. The highlight came just as the four passed under the Weeks foot bridge and heard the deafening cheers of fellow HBS fans.

Unprecedented crowd support allowed the four to surge past a hapless crew from the University of Vermont. Particularly audible from the river were cheers from NC, many of whom had ignored the “No Visitors” sign and camped out on the Newell Boathouse dock the night before in order to catch a glimpse of the HBS crew.

The crew would like to thank everyone who came out to the river and cheered them on, as well as Patrick McGinnis (OG) who “really wanted to come watch, but was still in bed.”