a rowing boat of eight rowers and one coxswain rows past a rival boat. they are preparing to turn a corner on the river. another crew is ahead of them.

The Dallas United Crew men’s eight overtakes a boat at the Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct 23, 2022. Photo by Dave Slear.

White Rock Rowing and Dallas United Crew, two of the rowing clubs based out of White Rock Lake, recently competed at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sign up for our newsletter!

* indicates required

Taking place every penultimate weekend of October, 11,000 athletes compete in front of over 200,000 spectators, making it the largest regatta in the world. Participation in the regatta is by invitation only. Finishing in the top half of an event secures a crew a spot in the race next year, and the other half of the field is selected via a lottery system.

White Rock Rowing sent three boats to the regatta, all of which were coxed fours, meaning boats comprised of four rowers and one coxswain. Dallas United Crew sent two coxed eights. The Head of Charles presents unique challenges to coxswains, who are tasked with steering the boats and shouting commands to rowers. The Charles has several sharp turns along its course, including a full 180-degree turn near the course’s finish line. Coxswains have to make sure they plot their courses carefully, and the race is infamous for being the site of many dramatic crashes.

White Rock Rowing’s three coxed fours competed in three respective events: the Men’s Under-17 Fours event, the Men’s Youth Fours event and the Women’s Youth Fours event. All three boats finished in the top 50 percent of their categories, meaning they automatically qualify to return to Cambridge next year. The men’s under-17 boat placed eighth out of 21 boats, the men’s youth boat finished 14th of 90 and the women’s youth boat placed 38th of 90.

“We can’t wait to see what our athletes accomplish the rest of the season,” said Sue Ellen Chambers, the president of the club’s operations.

Dallas United Crew’s two boats competed in the Men’s Youth Eights and the Women’s Youth Eights events, respectively. The eights events are considered the regatta’s marquee categories. The women’s boat finished 53rd of 90, and the men’s boat finished 32nd of 90. The men’s boat also beat regional rival Jesuit College Preparatory.

Now rowing in college, several Dallas United Crew alumni also participated in the regatta. The schools they now represent include Cornell, Columbia, Northeastern, Dartmouth, Navy, and Penn.

“The schools represented by our alumni are a testament to their dedication to the sport and how far rowing can take you,” said Steve Perry, the head coach at Dallas United Crew.

Both crews will compete next at the Waco Regatta, which will take place this Sunday.