T.C. Williams High School Crew
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ODBC Rowers Start Strong at Potomac Regatta

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - The Old Dominion Boat Club (ODBC) crew team roared into the fall competitive season on Sunday, September 25 with a strong showing at the 36th Annual Charlie Butt Scullers Head of the Potomac (SHOP) Regatta. Bright sunshine and cool temperatures provided ideal conditions for the 13 ODBC boats competing in three different races on the Potomac River across from the Georgetown/Foggy Bottom waterfront in Washington, D.C.

The SHOP and other fall regattas are head races, where all boats in a single race category launched in 10-15 second intervals, with winners determined by the crew that has the best time down the course. This compares to spring season races, that generally have multiple heats in which a subset of boats in a race category launch simultaneously, with winners of individual heats advancing to the finals. Fall head races also cover longer distances - 4500 or 5000 meters (three miles) compared to the 1500 meter sprints in spring regattas – and typically have multiple turns over the course.

The ODBC program includes student athletes from TC Williams in Alexandria and other local high schools, including McLean, West Potomac, Yorktown, Wakefield, HB Woodlawn, Annandale, and Gonzaga. At the SHOP Regatta, they competed against ten other strong crew programs mostly from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.

The first race of the day for ODBC was the Men’s Youth Eight category, in which ODBC and home team Thompson Boat Center (TBC) each fielded five boats in the 27-boat field. ODBC coxswains guided their rowers down the 2.8 mile course with times that beat by more than 30 seconds the best times from last year’s choppy race conditions at the SHOP. The ODBC A boat oarsmen placed third, with a time of 14:48.7, behind Fordham Prep from the Bronx and first place TBC, the same three top finishers from last year’s race. Of the five clubs that entered three or more boats in this race, ODBC was the only club with three boats that finished in the top ten, with 7th and 8th place finishes by the ODBC B and C boats, respectively. The ODBC Men’s crew program is guided by head coach Pete Stramese.

The 23-boat Women’s Youth Eight category included six boats each from ODBC and rival TBC. For the fourth year in a row, the ODBC A boat took top honors in this race with a time 16:19:8, a minute and a half faster than their SHOP regatta winning time last year. Making another strong statement about the competitiveness of the ODBC women’s program, the ODBC C boat placed second with a time of 16:37.6, followed by third place TBC. Both ODBC and TBC have claimed the top three places in this race for the last three years, but this year for the first time ODBC took two of those winning slots. And like the ODBC men, with a 6th place finish by the women’s ODBC D boat, ODBC women went home with three finishes in the top ten. Head coach Patrick Marquardt guides the ODBC Women’s crew program.

ODBC’s final race of the day was in the Men’s Youth Four category, in which ODBC brought to the course two boats in the 14-boat field. These boats, with more junior rowers from ODBC, rowed a good race and finished in the middle of the pack.

After an in-house scrimmage on October 1 at the Dee Campbell Rowing Center in Alexandria, ODBC rowers next will compete at the Occoquan Challenge on Sunday, October 9.
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