Bahamian rowers compete in Head of the Charles Regatta

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Contingent turned in some good perfomances

Simba FrenchSend an emailOctober 25, 2022 161 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Windsor Rowing Club’s doubles rowers, Isaiah Ellis and Matthias Simms, prepare to head out on the river to compete.

Six rowers from the Nassau Rowing Club (NRC) and the Windsor High School Rowing Club traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta on the Charles River this past weekend.

Representing the Windsor High School Rowing Club in the men’s youth doubles were Matthias Simms and Isaiah Ellis. The NRC was represented by Kathryn de Souza in the women’s grand master singles, Dehron Smith in the men’s championship singles and Jessica and Poppy Proffitt in the women’s youth doubles. Olympian Rob Gibson, the director of rowing at Windsor School, was also in action in the men’s alumni eights for the University of Washington.

Gibson and his crew powered their way through the course in 14:31 to win the gold medal. It was the first time for a contingent from The Bahamas to come back home with a medal from this regatta. Gibson and his crew were a full 14 seconds ahead of the second-place crew.

De Souza placed 61st of 74 rowers in the women’s grand master/veteran singles, then placed 25th of 31 rowers in the grand master category, with a time of 25:22. Smith was in a highly competitive division that included Ezra Carlson, who competed at the 2022 World Championships. In the end, Smith rowed a time of 21:17 and finished 24th out of 24 rowers. Carlson won that race with a time of 17:28.

Kyle Chea was in Cambridge as a coach for NRC. “The rowers in the singles had some space between the crews, so had less of a fight. Overall, low wind on both days made it relatively navigable, and no rain definitely helped keep the energy up,” Chea said.

The women’s youth doubles saw teenage sisters Jessica Proffitt and Poppy Proffitt from NRC placing 37th of 55 crews. The Lyford Cay International School rowers clocked 21:00 in a very tightly contested category. The winner, Cambridge Boat Club, won with a time of 18:47.

“The Proffitt sisters were fighting for the best line over the course of the race and performed spectacularly. At times, there were mere inches between the ends of their oars and the oars of the next closest crew. Jessica’s steering and situational awareness was a determining factor in their success,” Chea said.

Chea raced the course himself before but with a coxswain, so he was able to prep them before the race.

“I have to remember that rowing comes down to the basic point of moving in a straight line as quickly as one can, then triangulating the next straight line, and the next,” Chea said. “I’ve never raced the course as a sculler, only with a coxswain, so walking the course with the competitors, observing how crews approached and exited turns, quizzing them on who was taking the best line, and having them take notes and visualize highly detailed race plans has been great for race prep.”

In the men’s youth doubles, Simms and Ellis had a tough time on the course as they clocked 23:06. It was not enough as they placed 55th of 55 crews.

Gibson said the regatta was a great learning experience for the boys.

“They found themselves competing in arguably the most challenging rowing regatta North America has to offer. Unfortunately, they had a couple of course complications which impeded their final race time. We now know the standard set, and are going to work hard to seek improvement going forward,” Gibson said.

Gibson will be working on improving fitness and on water technical proficiency over the next weeks. He is hoping to get in one more regatta as his other rowers get a chance to compete.

NRC will be doing winter training and will focus on sprint training in spring.

Chea was happy that both NRC and Windsor was at the Head of the Charles, as it was a great testament to the resilience and growth of the sport in The Bahamas, particularly on New Providence.

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