By ANDREW BREITFELDER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa rowing team wraps up its fall season this weekend at the 54th running of the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston and the Jayhawk Jamboree in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Hawkeyes will bring their top 12 rowers to compete in their Varsity 8+ boat and Varsity 4+ boat to Boston in what is one of the biggest rowing events in the country with nearly 275,000 fans projected to be in attendance.
“The regatta is a pretty big event,” said Iowa head coach Andrew Carter. “It used to be the biggest one day rowing event in the country, but then they spread it over two days, so they don’t have that same claim to fame. It’s a big fall festival that happens to have rowing at its core.”
Iowa first appeared in the Head of the Charles under Carter during the 2015-16 season, where the V4+ raced to a sixth place finish overall — fourth among collegiate crews in a time of 18:45.673. The 8+ finished ninth out of 32 crews.
The Hawkeyes continued their success the following years, finishing nine seconds off the course record set by the U.S. National Team in the team’s third appearance.
The team know that this opportunity is a privilege and it has to prove themselves to the coaches before committing to the event.
“It is a bit of a carrot experience,” Carter said. “I will only submit entries each year if certain benchmarks are met in the fall and the team knows this. If they present some fitness measures that are at the appropriate standard then I will submit entries.”
At both events, Iowa will compete in longer distance races than it does during the spring season, which compliments the team’s current training style.
“Head race courses are usually on some form of river and unique to that body of water rather than our sprint racing, which has everybody racing on the same 2,000-meter lane,” Carter said. “The Charles River course is particularly challenging with a number of bridges and turns.”
In addition to the Head of the Charles, the Jayhawk Jamboree is similar in style, but does not replicate the scale of Boston. Iowa first attended the Jamboree during the 2014-15 season.
“Once we are there, the goal is to continue to try and improve on our standing” Carter said. “The past few years we have put ourselves in a group of high performing and consistent programs at the Division I level.”
These two events are Iowa’s only events of the fall. They are a stepping stone for the spring where Iowa will participate in six events, including the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
“This is a traditional style of race for the fall,” Carter said. “A lot of (this weekend’s racing) reflects the style of training and foundation that you’re laying with their physical preparations during this time of year.
“You are not honing them in on the sprint style yet. This time of year we tend to be doing a lot of longer distance work on different parts of their technical rowing.”
The Head of the Charles Regatta will take place Saturday and Sunday, while the Jayhawk Jamboree will take place Sunday.