Held over four days at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, U.S. Rowing Masters Nationals was a grand finale to the summer sprint racing season. Over the course of the four-day event, the Hamp Crew masters competed in 10 events and 15 races, with five boats advancing through to semis or finals.
Top finishers included overall fifth-places for the mixed C 4+ and women’s open AA 4+ and a fourth-place for the women’s club E 8+. Hamp Crew also posted some fast times, clocking a 3:34 for the 1,000 meter-course in the 8s and a 3.58 in the mixed 4s.
On Thursday, for the first race of the four-day event, Hamp Crew rowers left Northampton early to rig and warm up on four ergs brought along for that purpose.
Lake Quinsigamond had been transformed for the long weekend into a sprint racer’s paradise, complete with buoyed lanes that changed color at the 250m and 750m marks. From a viewing beach, fans could see straight across the water to the finish line.
U.S. Rowing ran the event with the organization’s typical outstanding professionalism, from floating officials towers to staking platforms. Results were posted online nearly instantaneously and all finals were live-streamed.
Hamp Crew’s tent was at Regatta Point, next to Lincoln Park Boat Club, and rowers spend downtime relaxing, eating and enthusiastically supporting teammates.
At 9:52 a.m., the women's club D 8+ were on the course for the first event.
“Cheering for my teammates Amy, Sally, Linda, Glo, Dorrie, Micki, Rachael, Cheryl in 8+ @Hamp_Crew #MastersNationals,” tweeted member Anita Fabos in support.
The club D 8+ finished fifth (3:48.834) behind Saugatuck, Carnegie Lake, Alexandria and Maritime (3.42.005). With only four advancing to the semis, the boat was seemingly done for the day.
But at the finish line, the officials noted that the Alexandria coxswain had apparently not weighed in before the race (as was required by the rules).
With the future of the previous race uncertain, the women's club A 4+ and mixed C 4+ took to the water for mid-day races.
Women’s club A 4+ placed sixth out of seven (4:12.378) behind D.C. Strokes, Genesee, CRI B, Three Rivers, and winner Riverfront Recapture (3:54.380).
In the mixed race, Hamp Crew had a strong showing to place second (3.58.678) behind Northern Virgina (3.56.934), which advanced them through to the finals.
During these races, Coach Sandra learned that the previous decision in the 8+ race had been overturned. With Alexandria disqualified, Hamp Crew advanced to the semi finals. Two rowers hot seated from the mixed 4+ into the 8+ for a 1:46 p.m. race. That crew’s club D finished sixth (3:48.338) in a competitive semi behind Saratoga, Riverside, Maritime, Three Rivers, and Genesee (3:35.050).
The mixed C 4+ finished in fifth (4:05.251) out of six in their final to round out day one of racing. Cambridge (3:54.816) took the gold.
On Friday, women's masters club B 8+ had a fast heat (3:34.045) to place fourth and start off the day. After a scratch, the B8s races had been reconfigured with only heats and finals. This meant that Hamp Crew did not advance, but rowers said they were happy with what ended up being a strong showing.
The women’s open C 4+ rowed a tough, fast race and came in fifth (4:20.545). With temperatures in the 90s, the rowers described themselves afterwards as the "hot, happy crew.”
Setting the tone for Saturday, the women's club E 8+ placed a decisive second (4:03.957) in morning heats to advance the evening finals.
“Woo hoo!! @hamp_crew is kicking it hard today! Another boat advances to the finals!!” posted member Lauri Yanis on Instagram.
Women's open B4+ placed sixth in heats (4:22.119) and did not advance.
In evening racing, women’s club E 8+ had a great row against a strong headwind to take fourth overall (4:34.122). The winner was Minneapolis (4:15.086).
Three boats took to the water on Sunday for the final day of racing. The women's open AA 4+ secured their place in the finals with a second place showing at the start of the day (4:14.768), while the women's club F 4+ also advanced in third (4:40.749).
The women's open D 4+ placed fifth (4.31.069) and did not advance out of the heats.
Hamp Crew would end the day with a fifth place finish for the open AA 4+ (4:40.756) in a race won by CRI (4:04.193) and a sixth-place in club F+ (5:20.947) in a race won by Minneapolis (4:38.309).
They didn’t come home with medals, but the team did return with a new, yet-unnamed 8 from Vespoli and newly adjusted and tuned oars, courtesy of C2.
“I just wanted to thank you all for these past four wonderful days!!!,” Coach Sandra wrote to the team following Masters Nationals. “I had a such a great time with you all, and, even though we did not come back home with shiny jewelry, I think we definitely had a great showing!... I am so happy to be part of this team, and I am very honored to stand beside you in every practice and in every regatta!”