October 20, 2011 : By Olivia Witherite/Liberty University News Service
Members of the Liberty University varsity club men’s and women’s crew teams are traveling to Boston, Mass., this weekend to compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest annual two-day rowing event.
The Regatta will feature 61 events, 1,953 boats and more than 8,800 competitors. Teams from all over the world are participating, along with top-competition schools, such as Harvard University and Stanford University, and some Olympic rowers.
Crew has been a club sport at Liberty University for three seasons, but this is the first season the teams will participate in the Head of the Charles Regatta. In order to be invited, Liberty had to apply and enter a lottery process, which turns away about 33 percent of applicants. However, if the teams finish in the top half of their field and within 5 percent of the winning time at this year’s event, they are automatically invited back the following year.
“Both crews are striving to obviously get the best results they can with the primary goal to finish in the top half,” said head coach Mark Furler.
The men’s team will be participating in the collegiate men’s eights against 39 other competitors; the women’s team is one of the 31 competitors in the collegiate women’s fours race.
The regatta can be watched though a live webcast on the Head of the Charles website beginning at 8 a.m.; the women’s team will be competing at 3:46 p.m. on Saturday and the men’s team will be competing at 3:28 p.m. on Sunday.
Their next competition will be in Fairfax, Va., on Nov. 5. Another race will be held in Augusta, Ga., on Nov. 12, and both the novice and varsity teams will be participating.
The teams practice on Liberty’s 112-acre Ivy Lake in Forest, Va., 15 minutes from Liberty’s campus. For more information on Liberty crew or Liberty’s club sports programs, go to www.liberty.edu/club-sports/.