by Claire Miller
Rowing teams from all over the world travel to Boston, Mass., each year for the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event.
More than 300,000 spectators filled the banks along the Charles River Oct. 22-23 to see the best teams compete in 55 different races.
To compete in such a prestigious race surrounded by crowds of cheering fans was a whole new experience for Nick Kolassa, captain of Georgia State University’s men’s rowing team and one of 10 GSU Crew members who participated in this year’s regatta.
“The most memorable moment for me was rowing down to the start of our race and getting to see all the other races go by and hearing all the spectators cheering them on,” said Kolassa, an exercise science major in the College of Education. “There were so many people lining the shores and standing on the bridges. The entire city of Boston was taken over by it. I have been to big regattas before, but nothing like this.”
One five-man boat and one five-woman boat from GSU competed in the regatta, and both placed in the top 25 in their respective races – a feat that took the club team months of extra practices to accomplish.
“When I found out we would be competing this year, my teammates and I tried to get as much time on the water as we could,” Kolassa said. “We would have two workouts a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. We worked hard to try and get in the best shape we could possibly be in.”
Deron Boyles, COE professor and GSU Crew’s head coach, said this is the first team from GSU since 2008 to be invited to participate in the regatta, and placing high among NCAA teams is a testament to the students’ dedication to the sport.
“They put a lot of time and energy into preparing for the regatta and it shows,” Boyles said. “We may be a small team, but we’re focused and scrappy. It says a lot that they performed so well against crews from big NCAA teams.”