By Lisa Miller
Dallas United Crew sent 21 athletes to Cambridge, MA on Oct. 19-21, to race in the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta. The Head of the Charles is the largest two-day rowing regatta in the world, attracting more than 11,000 athletes and 400,000 spectators. Since its origin in 1965, the Head of the Charles Regatta has welcomed the world’s best crew teams to the banks of the Charles River. The course is known for its bridges and treacherous, winding turns and boats that compete against one another and the clock starting sequentially 15 seconds apart.
DUC made program history this year with its first entry in the Adaptive Inclusion event. Retired Army Veteran John Fay and his bow partner Hillary Shinnick raced to a strong 12th place finish in the adaptive event. John was one of the few in this event who are adaptive wheelchair athletes. “When I’m out in a boat, no one knows I’m disabled; I don’t need my wheelchair,” Fay said. He added: “It’s a chance for me to get out of my chair and compete on the water. It’s like no other sport I’ve tried.”
Both DUC Varsity Boy’s 8+ and Varsity Girl’s 8+ youth crews accomplished their best showing at the highly competitive regatta. Their goal was to hold their own among world-class athletes and to improve their previous results. They succeeded representing DUC, their schools and the City of Dallas. The DUC Boy’s boat finished 19th out of 85 crews, improving on last year’s result by two places against boats from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.
The DUC Girl’s boat jumped from 49th place of 85 boats in their last appearance to 29th of 85 boats this year. Both boats earned a guaranteed entry to race again in their respective spots in the 2019 regatta, an impressive accomplishment for these young athletes. Dallas United Crew is gaining momentum and attention on this international stage as each year’s results improve year after year.
Program Director Steve Perry said: “All three crews rowed great pieces and finished with team best finishes. I was proud of them earning guaranteed entries for next year’s regatta.”
Perry added: “The seven seniors in the boys’ crew and five seniors in the girls’ boat set a high standard for the rest of the team to meet next year. The Head of the Charles remains the premier event in the country for youth athletes to display their abilities to the nation’s top rowing colleges.”
While at the event, current rowers cheered DUC alumni who are racing for some of the top colleges in the country. “Rowing opens college doors for our high school athletes,” Perry said.