The Dublin School rowers traveled to Saratoga Springs this past weekend to race in the last big regatta of their fall season. This year’s Head of the Fish Regatta, held annually on Fish Creek, was the largest in history: with 189 clubs in attendance and over 2300 individual entries! To put this in perspective, the 2015 Head of the Charles drew 2,222 entries this year and is typically the biggest and most well-known regatta in the world regarding total competitors entered.
It was a 2-day regatta, with open, masters, and collegiate races being held on Saturday, October 31st, and all high school level competition held on Sunday, November 1st. With the way events were spaced out this year, Dublin could not enter any small boat events and thus placed their focus on the fours. As a fun side event, the boys and girls fours joined forces at the end of the day and also raced in the mixed 8+!
The boys’ junior 1V 4+ event had a total of 57 competing crews, which included many of the fastest programs in the east! The lineup of G.H. Werowinski (stroke), Will Stanhope (3-seat), Matt Coffin (2-seat), John Scriven (bow), and Joey Hynes (coxswain) launched their boat, the R.A.C., and headed to the start. They were 53rd in line that morning and would need to wend through several crews in front of them across the 3200 meter course. From the stroke seat, Werowinski reported that the crew had a good race, and were able to recapture the smooth and set feeling the boat had towards the beginning of the season. Overall, the boys did very well, finishing 24th of 58 total crews in a time of 12:46, just ahead of Gunnery (12:50) and right behind St. Joe’s (12:43); this put them 10” out of a top 20 finish. They also took the top NH/VT program finish, ahead of Vermont (13:06), Concord (13:26), Central (13:37), Derryfield (13:44), and Brewster (13:45), and managed to finish ahead of Greater Lawrence (12:56) and Duxbury (13:01), programs that had been placing above them all season!
The girls’ junior 1V 4+ went off later that afternoon with a total of 55 entries! Racing in the program’s signature hull, the Bud Steele, was the lineup of Zoe Hewitt (stroke), Michelle Zhong (3-seat), Lilly Campbell (2-seat), Tatum Wilson (bow), and Phoebe Glaude (coxswain). The girls had been having somewhat of a rough fall season, but managed to pull themselves together and work out many of the boat’s issues for their final big performance on Fish Creek. The entire crew reported a really good, fun race, where the power and set really came together. Overall, they finished in the top 20 and were about 10” out of the top 15, taking 19th overall in a time of 14:25! They were edged by CRI A (14:25), and were just ahead of Cold Spring Harbor (14:28). The lady wildcats also ranked as the top NH program, taking Concord (14:37), Derryfield (15:27), and Central (15:32)!
As night began to descend upon the course, there was still one event remaining in a full weekend of racing: the Mixed Junior 8+. Many coaches would call this the “end-all, be-all” event, as it showcases a program’s overall strength by combining their 4 strongest boys and 4 strongest girls… other coaches simply would enter the event in order to completely exhaust their athletes so they wouldn’t have to listen to them during the long drive home from Saratoga. In any case, the wildcats had their own entry in this prestigious event and were hungry to race. This year Dublin was even able to utilize their own racing hull, the Rick Leonard, which was the first raceable 8+ the school had owned in its history! The Dublin mixed 8+ launched in a flurry of excitement, despite the fact that the girls had just finished from racing in the 4+ moments beforehand, and rowed off into the setting sun looking confident. At the 500 meter to go mark, the Dublin crew was surrounded by other boats and locked in intense battle. They crossed the finish line in a total time of 12:17 and taking 8th out of 23 total entries! They were just behind the crew from HRRA (12:08) and ahead of Saratoga B (12:26).
It was a great day of racing for the Dublin crews: there was much technical improvement in each boat, lots of fast racing, and incredible competition. As the team packed up and prepared to return home in the now full-dark of night, it became apparent that the fall rowing season would soon be at an end. The wildcats will return to racing one final time for 2015, as they travel to Methuen, MA on November 7th for the Merrimack Chase.