Rowing's Hess Gives a Look into the Team's European Tour
June 12, 2013
The Boston College rowing team is on an overseas tour, competing in international races in Switzerland and England. Junior Rachel Hess gives a first-hand account of the first leg of the Eagles' trip.
After a short reunion in Boston last Monday and one last bit of training on the Charles, we departed for what has so far been an amazing and memorable trip. We left from Logan International Airport late on Thursday evening and arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, in the late morning, local time. With not a moment to waste, we headed straight to the boathouse of the Ruder Thalwil Club to take advantage of the unique opportunity to row an octuple (a boat crewed by eight rowers who scull rather than sweep - the traditional method for a boat of that size). This proved a fun way to row off the long plane ride and even coaches Steve Fiske and Amy Weatherby accompanied us in the boats. We then took a trip into Zurich to do some exploring, soak in the beautiful surroundings and have the first taste of Swiss culture. Back in Thalwil at the boathouse, members of the club prepared a meal for us and we were able to meet the host families who will be taking us in for the week. After a long day of travel, which had really spanned two days, everyone trudged home full and tired.
Not even a full 24 hours after arriving in Switzerland, we departed by train to practice on the course for the first race of the trip at the Swiss National Championship Regatta in Sarnen, Switzerland. The race, Switzerland's largest regatta, had over 1,400 boat entries this year and BC did its best to contribute to this number - entering eight boats in five events. With a traveling crew of only 20, this meant that many of us raced twice, and some even three times, on both the Saturday and Sunday. The competition was extraordinary, especially in the sculling events, which is the main focus of most European rowers. By Sunday, we had collected medals in the eights (with first and second-place finishes), the pairs (with a second-place finish) and the fours (with second and third-place finishes). We learned a great deal about rowing small boats, which is not an opportunity afforded to us at home, and about the somewhat different atmosphere surrounding the sport abroad. Surrounded on all sides by towering mountain peaks and green hills, there is not a more beautiful racecourse in the world than the one at Lake Sarnen and it is unlikely that any of us will forget the experience.
Looking forward to the rowing that is yet to come, we are readying once again to pick up training for the Henley Women's Regatta. We'll continue to train and explore among the Swiss Alps until Friday and then depart for our final destination: England.