Hingham Crew Competes in the Head of the Charles


Brendan Chase

Coach Evans Liolin gives his team final words of wisdom before the race.

Brendan Chase, Contributing Writer

This past Sunday, the Hingham rowers took on the Charles River in a battle not soon to be forgotten. Hingham entered two Varsity boats this year, one from the girls team and one from the boys. In addition to the rowers and their parents, Hingham fans and fellow rowers and alumni packed in with thousands of others to watch the boats race. Unshaken by the wind and chill, most of the fans settled on the Eliot Bridge, a notorious bridge known for attracting the oars of many boats.

The bridge also served as a reminder to Hingham’s curse at the Charles. Each year for 7 years straight at least one Hingham boat has smashed into a bridge, but coxswains Cotter McCarthy and Lauren Mitchell seemed determined to break this curse.

In accordance with the phrase “ladies first”, the girls began their race at 10 o’clock. Having to travel almost 3 miles before even reaching the bridge, the Hingham girls did not reach the Eliot Bridge until almost 10:30. Until the turn, the girls were keeping a fantastic pace, aiming for the top 30 in a field of over 80 world class competitors.

Suddenly, while cruising around the turn the oar of Molly Lipsett got caught on a lane buoy as the boat tried to cut the turn close. Rather than coming loose as they normally do, the buoy snagged further on Molly’s oar. She attempted to keep rowing, but the pounds of concrete attached to the bottom of the buoy weighed her down. Without warning, her oar caught and threw her out of the boat and into the frigid Charles water, just before the Eliot Bridge.

Unbelievably, she managed to pull herself back into the boat with help from her sister Anne sitting behind her. By this time, the boat had sailed under the bridge and into the crowd of Hingham fans. Wild cheers soon dropped into gasps of shock as Molly Lipsett attempted to continue rowing despite her soaked appearance and her buoy in tow. While mass confusion ran through the fans, the girls boat prepared for their final sprint and somehow finished with all 9 girls in the boat.

After landing, Molly Lipsett was taken away in an ambulance due to her body temperature rapidly dropping. Despite all this, the girls still managed to beat 16 other boats in their race, and live to tell the tail. Molly later recovered at home and is doing well.

Now the boys faced the Charles River. With wind gusts picking up to nearly 40 mph, it turned into a rocky row. Senior Jared Freeman recalls “there were whitecaps up near the start, it was like rowing on the harbor for the first thousand meters”. As the boys battled furiously against the waves, the fans and coaches waited anxiously for them to appear on the fateful turn.

Using his 4 years of experience, Cotter McCarthy nailed the turn, missing the bridge and keeping all rowers in the boat. A thunderous cheer of relief and excitement radiated through the crowd as the boys continued to fight the tremendous chop.

In the end, the boys beat their main rivals, Arlington Belmont Crew and the dreaded BC High Crew. Although a hard-fought race for both the boys and the girls, everyone seemed just a bit disappointed. For many, this was their final Head of the Charles, such as the case of the Captains Jack Metzger, Tyler O’Connell, Gillian Mehigan and Nicole Merian.

Rather than dwell on this, the team decided to redouble their efforts for the state championships on Sunday, October 30th. For your last chance to see the crew team in action before the spring, please join us in Lowell as we compete against teams across the entire state in the MPSRA Championships.