Head of the Hooch

Apr 14 / CATEGORY: Sports

To most, it’s just a funny-sounding word; To Crew clubs across the country, it’s reminiscent of one of the nation’s largest regattas (a series of boat races).

The 37th Head of the Hooch Regatta, took place this past weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to its website, the regatta was first held on the Chattahoochee River in Roswell, Georgia. “The Head of the Chattahoochee,” was shortened to “Head of the Hooch,” and – despite a move Chattanooga Ross’s Landing Riverfront venue in 2005 – the name stuck.

Crew Team

UF’s Crew Club was among the over 200 different teams (totaling around 8,000 individual rowers) that competed. Madelyn Kloske, Florida Crew’s Vice President of Administration, wrote this about the regatta:

A total of 121 rowers made the trip to Chattanooga, TN, for the Head of the Hooch regatta, one of the largest rowing races in the world.  The course is 5000 meters long.  We brought home a total of 6 boat medals with several 4th place finishes, missing the podium by only seconds.  Here’s the breakdown of how we placed:

Our novice (1st year) women’s A-boat had a strong finish of 4th, only losing to D1 recruited schools.  They were the top novice crew and we can’t wait to see how they perform in the spring! Our novice men’s A-boat also came close to medaling, coming in 5th out of 21 boats.  We are impressed with all our novice crews and the progress they’ve made after only a few months total rowing.

Our varsity men’s 8+ A-boat had stiff competition and ended up placing 6th out of 22 crews.  The men’s lightweight 4+ A-boat came in second. They raced in several other events and enjoyed as always racing at this big, exciting race.


Our women’s varsity team had many strong finishes at Hooch and showed that we continue to be a force to be reckoned with.  We raced 5 varsity 8+’s which all placed within the top 15 of 21 entries. Our 1st varsity 8+ impressively won gold for the second year in a row.  Our 2nd varsity 8+ placed 5th ahead of many clubs’ A-boats. The women’s lightweight 4+’s swept first and second place in their event. In the A-entry boat, senior bow-seat Victoria Camilleri won the event for the fourth year in a row.  Our entry in the women’s lightweight 1x won her event as well. Our varsity 4+ A-entry came just seconds from bronze, placing 4th in their category.

On Sunday, many of the varsity team and a couple novices raced in co-ed boats.  It is a tradition to dress up for these events and it’s always fun to see how creative the boats get with their costumes.  Results-wise, the mixed varsity 8+ A-entry came in 1st place for the second year in a row. They dressed up as SpongeBob characters. 

Crew Team

The mixed varsity 4+ A-entry placed third in their event and raced as pirates.

Crew Team

One of our mixed 8+ entries hilariously dressed up as Harry Potter houses and Dumbledore and posed riding on oars as if they were broomsticks.

Crew Team

Notably, there were four rowers this weekend that won gold in three events.  Varsity women Jessica Meena, Madelyn Kloske, Katie George, and Victoria Camilleri won in the WV8+, WLtwt4+, and MixedV8+.


We were very excited to sport our brand new uniforms this weekend!  Shout-out to our apparel chairs for working hard to get those in time to race.  We love representing the Gator Nation and can’t wait for the Spring season. In the meantime, we’ll be training hard through the winter months.

Thanks, Madelyn! And thank you to all who rep the Gators in the best of ways like UF Crew Club’s mascot, Lady! That’s one good regatta dog. 

Go Gators!

Crew Team