After a long offseason, Tufts’ oars will power-glide their sleek boats through the water once again when the men’s and women’s crew teams host their first competition of the spring. The Malden River, which runs through part of Medford and acts as the ‘home field’ for Tufts rowing, will be the venue for the inaugural regatta of the season on Saturday and Sunday.
Over the long winter, the Jumbos were mostly confined to indoor training. Senior co-captain Ryan Bell spoke on finally getting onto the water to practice.
“We only really got in the water a few weeks ago in Florida over spring break,” Bell said. “Being able to get off of the erg and onto the water was incredible. It’s going to be really exciting to see how our boats do in competition this weekend.”
The Jumbos’ last competition was all the way back in October 2018 when both the men and women took part in the Head of the Charles as well as the Head of the Fish. At the Head of the Charles in Boston, perhaps the most well-known rowing event in the country, the Tufts women placed seventh out of 28 teams in the women’s collegiate eight. On the men’s side, the Jumbos were 13th out of 36 in the club eights race. The teams also competed in the men’s championship 2x and the men’s quad event.
The Jumbos closed out their fall season with the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. At that event, the men had top-three-finishing boats in all three events they competed in. Most notably, the novice eight boat for the Jumbos placed second out of 26 teams in their race.
The women were successful at the Head of the Fish as well, with a third-place finish by senior co-captain Libby Lichter in the women’s collegiate single, as well as a first-place, fish head trophy-winning performance by the novice four in their event.
The women’s team rows on Saturday when Tufts hosts Trinity and Coast Guard, as well as on Sunday when it faces off against Williams and Smith. Coast Guard is a frequent visitor for Tufts’ opening day regatta, having sent a team every year since 2016. Coast Guard will also be competing against the Tufts men’s team on Saturday, along with Williams. The men’s team does not row on Sunday, only cheering on their female counterparts in the second day of the regatta. Across both the men’s and women’s programs, there will be six teams on the Malden on Saturday for the opening day of the season, and three women’s teams will face off on Sunday.
This spring will be the final rowing season for many Jumbos. The women’s side has seven seniors, including two senior co-captains — Lichter and Miranda Finestone — as well as seniors Lauren Drohosky, Bibi Lichauco, Erika Madrian and Miriam Weiss.
The men’s team will graduate 12 Jumbos at the end of this season, including co-captains Ryan Bell and Isaac Mudge, as well as seniors Jordan Bacher, Samson Braun, Rich Gilland, James Grant, Nick Hartman, Ted Midthun, James Miller, Rohail Rai, Tamas Takata and Alec Whipple.
Bell and Lichter commented on the experience of being a senior and entering the final season of their four-year rowing careers.
“It’s definitely a little different,” Bell said. “It’s nice because I’ve been here before. We have a lot of [first-years] on the team, so it’s good to be able to tell them how the season goes. A lot of the guys were asking about what to expect at the first couple of races, and I was able to explain some things to them. It’s also sad, knowing that this is my last season with the team.”
Lichter echoed Bell’s sentiments, adding the responsibility of being a captain in her last year.
“I feel very appreciative to have been on this team for four years,” Lichter said. “Being a captain has also been one of the most stressful experiences in college but, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding. It’s been an invaluable experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything; to feel that I’ve been a part of this team getting better.”
The spring season’s inaugural regatta kicks off on Saturday, followed by a home “Seniors Day” regatta for both teams on April 13.