Leander Disappointed but Philosophical



By Isabelle Hahn – Posted on October 23, 2016

With five gold medalists and eight British Olympians in the boat, Head of the Charles fans were poised for great things from the Leander crew in Sunday’s championship men’s eights.

So the crowd gathered on the Eliot Bridge cheered wildly as they thought the Leander boat was passing the West End Great Eight as the two boats came past the Cambridge Boat Club. The fans were just following the lead of the announcers at CBC, who were raving in excited terms over the British Olympians form and speed. The problem was the speedy crew taking down the Great Eight was not Leander. The announcers did not realize their error until Leander actually rowed by some seconds later.

The streaking white-clad crew the announcers and fans mistook for Leander was actually the University of Washington, who stunned the field in winning the men’s champ eights by 12 seconds over their rivals from Cal.

Leander finished a disappointing thirteenth with a time of 15:30, suffering from a bit of post-Olympic letdown.

“The guys have not done a lot of training since coming back from the Olympics,” said coach Ted Bainbridge. “Four years builds and builds, afterwards is a bit of a time out.”

The men’s championship eights became a competition between Olympic experience and steady collegiate preparation.

“Some guys have done a little bit more activity than others so we’re getting different levels of fitness. I’ve been back training for about, ten days,” said Alan Sinclair, Olympic finalist in men’s pair and a member of the Leander boat here.

“I think a lot of the college crews trained really hard for this,” said Bainbridge. “The guys come out for a good weekend.”

The Leanders first row together as a crew was only last Thursday.

“We’re so unfit,” said Olympic gold medalist Tom Ransley of Leander with a laugh. “I’ve never been to Boston or Head of the Charles. I’ve always really wanted to come. What you guys do out here is fantastic.”

And it’s the good experience that the British Olympian will take from their first Head of the Charles. Despite the disappointing finish, the Leander men were in high spirits after the race.

“I think we’re realistic about the fact that there’s other crews out there on the river who have probably prepared a little better than us,” said Sinclair. “And ultimately that’s what gets you the win.”

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