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Head of the Charles Notebook

Adaptive events are on a slow course

By John Powers
Globe Staff / October 24, 2011

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Some events at the Head of the Charles have grown so much that they’re bursting. There were 153 men’s and women’s youth fours racing this weekend, 68 alumni and alumnae eights, and 29 male septuagenarians and octogenarians going solo.

But the adaptive events for disabled competitors, which were added last year, will have to be nursed along.

While there were a half-dozen entries in the new arms/trunks mixed doubles, which debuted yesterday (and was won by US teamers Tony Davis and Jacqui Kapinowski), there were only two in the legs/trunk/arms mixed fours, one of them from Community Rowing, which is based upstream.

“Clubs had a hard time finding four adaptive athletes,’’ said regatta executive director Fred Schoch.

Pairing up a man and a woman with similar disabilities who can compete at the same level also is a challenge, but Jamie Hintlian, the committee member who oversees the adaptive events, was encouraged by the depth he saw in the mixed doubles.

“We’re still learning,’’ he said. “We want to be able to scale for success.’’

Wisconsin winners

While Harvard and Virginia claimed the men’s and women’s championship eights titles yesterday, Wisconsin picked up hardware in two other open events. Its women, the only college crew to win the lightweight eights title, outrowed Stanford for their third straight and fifth overall, while the Badger men’s four swamped Cal to reclaim its crown. While the US squad didn’t send its strongest flotilla this year, its men’s lightweight eight won its first title since 1999, while Jon Winter and Concord native Kristin Hedstrom took the lightweight singles . . . Williams College continued its purple reign at the collegiate level as its women’s eight retained one title and its men’s reclaimed the other.

It’s become old hat

The perennial surest shot on the board came in again yesterday as Richard Kendall won his 11th men’s senior veterans singles title in 12 years. The 81-year-old Penn grad, who still can fit into his letter sweater, also won the special grand veteran category for the fastest age-adjusted performance for a man over 75, but was awarded only one medal. “One’s enough,’’ said Kendall, who says he races primarily to work up a proper thirst, which he slaked yesterday with a few Yuengling black and tans and a couple of porters at John Harvard’s Brew House. “I don’t know how long I can keep this up,’’ he said. “But I’ll keep trying.’’ Also retaining their titles yesterday were Richard Anderson (men’s veteran singles), Jan Stone (women’s senior veterans singles), Marin RA (men’s youth eights), and Capital RC (adaptive legs/trunk/arms mixed fours) . . . Simul8, which develops simulation software for scenario-based forecasting for businesses, has created a rowing version designed to help regatta officials manage logistics on and off the water for the nearly 9,000 athletes competing in 61 events. “We hope to garner some important information so we can place people when they arrive into like groups,’’ says Schoch. “So it isn’t just fiddlesticks when they hit the water.’’ . . . Why doesn’t the world’s largest two-day regatta have official events for pairs? All those bridges and turns. “The same reason why we don’t have uncoxed fours and quads,’’ said Schoch. “The steering’s too difficult.’’

John Powers can be reached at