Arlington-Belmont Crew pilot four boats as they head into the 2021 Charles Regatta.

On a clear and crisp Sunday, thousands of spectators lined the Charles River and watched as the 2021 Charles Regatta headed out, where the Arlington-Belmont Crew Club raced four boats in the three-mile race.

“It’s unlike any other regatta we go to,” Varsity Girls head coach Jon Raichek said before the crew practiced at the Medford Boat Club on Thursday.

About 90 rowers from Arlington and Belmont high schools are on the crew this fall, according to Arlington-Belmont Crew Club co-chair Doug Rosner. Leading the Charles Regatta, less than half the team made it to the four entries they won in this year’s lottery: four young women, eight young women, four young men and eight young men.

To row into the lead in the Charles Regatta, a team must finish in the first half of the previous year, otherwise they could enter through the lottery. The Arlington-Belmont Crew Club didn’t finish in the first half in 2019, but they luckily earned four lottery spots. The chef at the Charles hosted a remote global event in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Right off the bat you’re competing against 40 boats that finished in the first half two years ago,” Raichek said of the competition. “The dominant programs tend to remain the dominant programs. The competition is tough. »

Prior to its lead in the Charles Regatta races on October 24, the Arlington-Belmont Crew Club rowed in the Textile River Regatta in Lowell on October 3, the USRowing Northeast Regionals in Worcester on October 10, and the New Hampshire Championships George Dirth Regatta on October 17. Many rowers from the Arlington-Belmont Crew Club have competed in these regattas, as they typically have 10-12 boats in these events.

Spectators watch their races, Raichek said, but for the first 4,500 meters or so it’s mostly seagulls watching from above. Relatives and friends usually see the last 500 meters, he said. The leader of the Charles Regatta is another scene.

“Take all our other regattas combined, multiply by 10, that’s the number of spectators around [at the Charles]. So that’s pretty cool as a rower.

Bea Croteau, 17, a rower in the women’s junior eight, said ahead of Thursday’s practice that she was particularly excited about the atmosphere and the number of people cheering along the Charles River.

“There are all the bridges and there are people cheering and it will be unlike any other regatta I have been in because there will be people everywhere watching.”

Lia Martin, 17, a rower in the Young Women Four, said she was looking forward to lots of family members watching her row.

“I know it will be crowded, so it’s really exciting to be cheered on along the Charles River. It’s really cool,” Martin said.

Croteau added that the season for the crew club is all about rebuilding after a drop in registrations due to the pandemic.

“We just want to come out of the water having a good row,” Croteau said. “For us, Head of the Charles will be about coming together as a team and rebuilding some of our traditions.”

The four young women’s event was the Arlington-Belmont Crew Club’s first on Sunday morning. Coxswain Kalyani Duva and rowers Jenna Kenney, Beril Dogulu, Lia Martin and Lillian Forney finished 78th out of 84 boats in 22:27:90. Wilson High School won in 18:52.96.

Arlington-Belmont Crew Club Young Women Four-Way Boat Races in the 2021 Head of the Charles.

The second Arlington-Belmont Crew Club event was the Youth Women’s Eight. Coxswain Conna Kelleher and rowers Sophie Lentz, Lydia Powell, Bea Salgo, Marigold Averill, Norah Conti, Sofia Stockwell, Annika Truslow and Bea Croteau finished 66th out of 76 boats in 20:27.33. Greenwich Crew won in 16:56.46.

Eight-man boat races for young women from the Arlington-Belmont Crew Club in the 2021 Head of the Charles.

The four-man craft with coxswain Pablo Hruska-Cleary and rowers Davis Ingersoll, Conor Sweeney, Jungkeon Ahn and Ethan Becker placed 77th out of 84 boats in 19:54.64. RowAmerica Rye won in 17:08.79.

The Arlington-Belmont Crew Club men's four-man boat races in the 2021 Head of the Charles.

The Arlington-Belmont Crew Club’s last race was the men’s youth eight. Coxswain Peikay Lo and rowers Xavier de Venecia, Owen Purinton, Jonathan Wang, Colin McGloin, Timothy Bitteker, Alex Kragh, Colin Burnett and Hugh McCabe finished 63rd out of 80 boats in 17:22.23. Greenwich Crew won in 14:59.53.

Arlington-Belmont Crew Club Men's Eight Boat Races in the 2021 Head of the Charles.

“For most high school students, you’re lucky if you can row once,” Raichek said. “It’s exciting for the coxswains. It’s exciting for rowers. It’s a big problem.

Stacey Leissing is a sports reporter for Arlington Advocate and Belmont Citizen-Herald and can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @stacey_writes.

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