Michelle Sechser and Sorin Koszyk each won their respective Championship Single race at the 2023 Head of the Charles Regatta. Both Sechser and Koszyk, who qualified in the double for the Olympics at September’s World Rowing Championships, are lightweights—former, in Koszyk’s case–who beat formidable fields, including reigning Olympic champion Emma Twigg in the women’s field, at the world’s largest three-day rowing regatta.
Koszyk didn’t just win, he shattered the course record (previously set by lightweight Andrew Campbell in 2014) by 14 seconds and picked up $10,000 in prize money, a new feature of the regatta that continues to evolve from its roots as a fun training diversion brought to Cambridge and Boston by Englishman Ernie Arlett, who was Northeastern’s first head coach and starting in 1964, established the Huskies’ formidable varsity rowing program.
Sechser, who won back-to-back silver medals at the last two Worlds with different partners in the lightweight double, upset defending Head of the Charles champion, Twigg, as well as U.S. National Team openweight single sculler Kara Kohler. Sechser also won $10,000.
“You have to just fearlessly go up against these people, even though on paper, you know they’re taller, bigger, better, stronger, more experienced, and so it was a ton of fun,” said Sechser after the race. “That’s where the races are won, I think, is the fearlessness.”
USRowing National Team entries won both the men’s and women’s championship eight events, ahead of top college crews Yale, Stanford, Michigan, Virginia, and Brown in the women’s event. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Northeastern, Brown, Washington, Dartmouth, and Penn all finished in the top 10 of the men’s event. There were fewer colleges in the women’s top 10 because of how deep and fast the USRowing women are. Having qualified for every sweep event as well as the single and both doubles in the Olympics, the U.S. women raced what was essentially two rowers’ eights and a sculler’s eight, with the sweep rowers finishing one-two with less than a quarter-second between them, with the scullers in sixth place.
With 90 accepted entries, the women’s youth eights event at the Charles is the greatest collection of American junior rowing outside of June’s USRowing Youth National Championships. As in Sarasota, southwestern Connecticut crews topped the results, with RowAmerica Rye taking first and third places, Greenwich Crew second, and Saugatuck third. On the men’s youth side, London, England’s St, Paul’s School beat second-place Saugatuck and third-place Greenwich by over 20 seconds.
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