OBy Louis Morledge
On a brisk fall morning, the Chaminade varsity crew team piled onto Bus 91, and was ready to take on 85 of the fastest youth eight-man boats in the country at the 51st racing of the Head of the Charles Regatta. Like every weekend away from home, the Flyers attended Mass at 5 PM in Marlboro, Massachusetts. Members of the team assisted at the Mass by bringing up the gifts, ministering the Eucharist, and serving the altar.
The night before the race, the rowers were focused and ready to take on their rivals at Fordham Prep in Cambridge. Coach Lawrence Moebius and Coxswain Timothy Mahler ’16 covered each turn, bend and straightaway with diligence. Every move had to be executed with precision to ensure a successful race.
At 8 AM the Flyers arrived at the Community Rowing Inc. boathouse to warm up and rig. Different than last year, the first varsity eight had a new rudder, which enabled the shell to take tighter turns under bridges. At 9:15, the rowers walked the boat to the dock knowing that it would take them 40 minutes to row up the course. Stroke seat, Ryan Shelley ‘16, in his pre-race speech said to his crew, “It’s just gonna be fun. We’re going to have to smile at the pain.”
The banks of the Charles were alive that morning with parents, spectators, and competitors. Every spectator on shoreline yelled some faraway team’s name, hoping to give the team motivation to win the race.
At 10:30, Tim adjusted the eight into 24th position, the place last year’s team had received, and entered the lineup. Off the line, the Flyers took twenty high strokes and powered down Magazine Beach. At the Riverside Boat Club, Chaminade was gaining on a quick Dallas Jesuit crew ahead of them.
Next, the crew powered up for Powerhouse Stretch, the longest straightaway on the course, and hammered their blades through the water. With tremendous skill, Coxswain Timothy Mahler executed a near 90-degree turn under Weeks Bridge, keeping a consistent course and placing the Flyers in good position coming into the home stretch.
With one mile left to go, the crew sailed under Anderson Bridge and through the looping turn straight under Elliot Bridge at a 34 rating and a 1:40 split. “Rowing through the final bridge, the roar of the crowd above me chanting ‘Flyers, Flyers, Flyers’ gave my crew an extra push to the finish line 500 meters ahead,” said Timothy Mahler.
As they entered the last thirty strokes, the Flyers were at a 1:39, 1:38, and then 1:37 split until they were bow-to-stern on the Dallas crew.
The Flyers crossed the line in 29th place out of 85 teams, clocking in at a time of 16 minutes and 12 seconds on this 4800-meter course.
Great job Flyers and good luck next weekend on October 24 and 25 at the Head of the Schuylkill!