Men’s Champ Eights

 

Dutch Men Prevail as National Crews Dominate Colleges

By Andrew MacDougall | Published on October 20, 2013

It has been quite the autumn for crews from the Netherlands.

Following a positive showing at the 2013 World Championships in Chungju, South Korea, the Dutch national team elected to go its separate ways for nearly a month. It was a time for athletes and staff alike to decompress and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Then three weeks ago, many of its members reconvened in Amsterdam with sights set on the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta. Headlined by coach Mark Emke and five-time Olympian Diederik Simon, the team trained for a week and a half before boarding a plane bound for Boston.

Nearly 3,500 miles and a seven and a half hour flight, Dutch crew OTC Amsterdam landed at Logan International Airport on Monday – six days before they were set to launch from Boston University’s DeWolfe boathouse. Hotel accommodations had been made and suitcases retrieved, but there was one crucial piece of luggage that didn’t make the journey.

A boat to put their eight men in.

In search of a shell to compete with, they turned to local crews for help. In the spirit of sportsmanship, Harvard University and Coach Charlie Butts graciously allowed the crew to borrow an eight-man shell for the event.

Using rental equipment on a course few team members had ever raced, OTC Amsterdam emerged with a surprising first place finish in the Men’s Championship Eights Sunday afternoon, notching a time of 14:41.17 that bested USRowing by a second and a half.

“To have this as a win is very special,” said Emke, who returned to OTC Amsterdam after a brief stint as the coach for the Portuguese national team.

“This is a big regatta, and it’s nice just to be here and do some racing without that much pressure.”

In the process, OTC Amsterdam became the second European nation to take the Boston Globe trophy home to Europe, joining the Tideway Scullers (2009) and Cambridge University (2004), both from England.

“Our goal was to win of course, but we didn’t say that out loud,” said coxswain Tim van den Ende. “We knew if we had some good rowing we would have a pretty good chance to win. Our goal was to be first, and we are very glad that we achieved that.”

U.S. Rowing made a strong push for the medal stand from bow 26, passing several opponents en route to a final time of 14:42.65. The national team was looking for its first Champ Eights crown since 2007, the final of their 10 titles in 14 years.

The first boat off the line was the University of Washington, searching for its fourth Champ Eights trophy in six years. Having been back together for less than a month, the reigning Intercollegiate Rowing Champions finished a disappointing 9th place with a time of 14:55.48.

Harvard University was the only non-national team to place in the top-5, as the hometown Crimson worked to chase down the Huskies of Washington from bow two. In its first Head of the Charles since the passing of legendary coach Harry Parker, Harvard placed third with a time of 14:43.03.

A pair of French crews would round out the top-5 as French Rowing and Pôle France Aviron Nancy finished with times of 14:43.23 and 14:47.92, respectively.

Harvard’s crosstown-rival, Northeastern University, took sixth-place in the event for the second-consecutive year. Led by Row2K Collegiate Athlete of the Year Justin Jones, the hometown Huskies completed the course in a time of 14:49.88.

Filling out the remainder of the top-10 was Brown University (14:50.49), the University of California at Berkeley (14:55.47), Washington, and the Melbourne University Boat Club (14:59.86).

 

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