By Rebecca Flannery
The Brazos River will be filled to the brim with boats and oars Saturday for Baylor Crew’s Head of the Brazos regatta, the first regatta Baylor Crew has hosted in almost 10 years.
The head race, where crew members race against the clock to complete the 5 kilometer course, stretches from the Herring Bridge in between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and University Parks Drive to the Baylor crew boathouse behind the Ferrell Center.
Las Vegas senior Gretchen Mikulich, Baylor Crew president, said about 20 teams are signed up to attend the regatta with about 192 boats total. A bulk of the teams are coming from the Dallas and Austin areas and one from Louisiana will be in attendance.
“The 5 kilometer race really means about 10 kilometers when you add the warm-up route into it,” Mikulich said.
The team attends three to four regatta events per semester, Mikulich said. In the fall, the team prepares for head races and in the spring they prepare for sprint races.
“For this fall season, we’ve been doing a lot more endurance training to get ready for head races than we would do in the spring for sprint races,” Mikulich said. “We’ve been running a lot more and doing some strength training.”
The team consists of 60 new members and 20 returning, a number Mikulich says is the most surprising turnout they’ve ever had.
Brad Holbrook, Baylor online specialist, is the club’s sponsor and said the crew members will be responsible for setting up and dissembling the race along the river over the weekend. Teams will start arriving Friday to get practice on the water before the 8:30 a.m. start time Saturday.
The events will start at 8:30 a.m. and run until 1 p.m., Holbrook said. Medals and awards will be given around 3 p.m.
For this specific regatta, there will be 40 events in the junior, collegiate, open and masters divisions, according to a Baylor Crew press release.
“Baylor Crew last hosted the Head of the Brazos in 2005,” Mikulich said in the press release. “At the time, Baylor didn’t allow the regatta to be held on campus, so Crew held the regatta at Brazos Park East.”
Scheduling has been one of the greatest obstacles to overcome in planning the regatta, Holbrook said. With Baylor’s bi-annual Premiere Weekend occurring during the same hours, parking and traffic will likely be a problem, Holbrook said.
“Crew is a very unusual club sport, unlike any other in terms of expensive equipment and areas to host events,” Holbrook said. “McLane will be a great resource to have for people to park there if they’re coming to observe. Crew teams will be parking over by the Ferrell Center to make it easier to move their equipment.”