Bulldog crews continue early season successes

The crew teams maintained their early season pace with a trio of impressive regattas over the weekend.

The No. 5 women’s varsity eight put forth a dominating effort, highlighting a day in which the Bulldogs took three out of four races against Boston University and Dartmouth at the Yale Class of ’85 Cup in Boston, Mass.

Saturday, the No. 1 lightweight crew team maintained their perfect record as they dominated the Georgetown Hoyas on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J.

Meanwhile, at home on the Housatonic River in Derby, the No. 13 heavyweights narrowly lost the first varsity eight race to the Big Green. The Bulldogs swept their Ivy League foes in the rest of Saturday’s races.

The Lady Bulldogs easily navigated the strong winds and choppy water conditions on the Charles River, blowing past the Terriers and Big Green in the first and second varsity eights and the novice eight. All three boats moved to 6-0 on the season.

“They rowed very well in tough conditions,” women’s head coach Will Porter said. “This is one of those special teams. They’re in a place right now where they’re working really well with each other.”

In the varsity eight, the Elis cruised to a 13-second victory over the Terriers with a time of 7:30.7. Dartmouth finished more than 30 seconds behind the Yale boat.

“[We're] pleased with our winning results this weekend, particularly because Dartmouth and BU are Northeast regional rivals for a NCAA bid,” captain Megan Leitch ’02 said.

The second varsity eight complimented the first team’s performance with a strong race of their own. Rowing on a modified course of roughly 1,500 meters, due to a very strong cross headwind that nearly made the course unrowable, the Elis won by an 11-second margin over the Terriers with a time of 4:57.3.

The lightweights continued their speedy start to the season by sweeping all four of their races against the Hoyas in the team’s only home race of the season. With a firm tailwind, the Bulldogs varsity boat left the Hoyas in their wake with a time of 5:46.4, more than 11 seconds ahead of the Georgetown crew.

“I feel like we made another step forward,” lightweight head coach Andy Card said.

Eric Feins ’03 said that the race was a confidence-builder.

“We still haven’t settled on a lineup,” Feins said. “But we raced well and we found out more of our strengths and weaknesses.”

In an unusual opportunity for the Elis, Matt Gerrish ’03 and Derek Leung ’03 rowed to victory in the two-man shell.

“We very rarely race pairs,” Card said. “It was great for our guys to the get the chance to race it.”

The Bulldogs completed the sweep by dispatching with the Hoyas in both novice races.

After a 30-minute fog delay, the heavyweights kicked off their dual season against the Big Green.

The Bulldogs’ second varsity eight, novice eight and second freshman four swept Dartmouth in the day’s first three races. The second varsity eight had one of the best performances of the day, narrowly edging the Big Green at the finish line.

“We had a strong race,” said Andrew Homan ’02, who raced in the second boat. “I think the fact that our second boat raced so well shows that we have a lot of depth right now in the program and will be key as we get deeper into the season.”

The Eli varsity eight made a fast start to its race, but struggled down the stretch. After being neck-and-neck midway through the race, the Big Green stretched to an open water lead in the final sprint.

“We have a little bit of work to do on the speed end with varsity,” heavyweight head coach Dave Vogel said. “We moved well in the first half of the race, but we didn’t hold our technique and we started to lose our rhythm the second half.”

Despite the loss Vogel said that he saw bright spots in the team’s performance.

“When [the varsity eight] had it right, they were faster than Dartmouth,” Vogel said. “It wasn’t because of a lack of effort that we struggled the second half, we just need more practice.”

This weekend, the women will travel south to take on the No. 6 Princeton Tigers in the Eisenburg Cup.

Both men’s squads will race at home on the Housatonic River against Penn and Columbia.

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