Women and lightweight crews set pace

The women’s crew and men’s lightweight crew maintained a strong pace entering the final stretch of the season, while the heavyweights struggled in their races over the weekend.

The lightweights kept a flawless record intact, crushing Dartmouth and Rutgers Saturday at the Durand Cup in Hanover, N.H.

Despite rough racing conditions and equipment problems — the first varsity had to use the second varsity’s boat — the Bulldogs streaked past the competition with a decisive 10-second victory over the Big Green. Yale’s varsity completed the course in 6:07.0.

“I thought the guys handled the unique situation well,” lightweight head coach Andy Card said. “The [first varsity] had to borrow the [second varsity] boat on short notice. This is akin to borrowing someone else’s shoes before the 100-meter dash.”

Along with the varsity’s win, Yale also took three of the day’s four remaining races. In the second varsity race, the Bulldogs outdistanced the Big Green by more than 12 seconds and defeated the Scarlet Knights by 18 seconds. The Elis then won the third varsity and the novice eight contests.

The heavyweights — who took on Princeton, Cornell and Navy Saturday in Princeton, N.J. — were unable to win a race, as the Tigers and Big Red each took two races apiece.

Racing in relatively calm conditions and into a direct headwind, the Elis’ varsity eight finished third, falling to both the Princeton and Cornell boats by over seven seconds. The Tigers finished first with a time of 5:49.7, half a second ahead of Cornell. The Elis completed the course in 5:57.4, over seven seconds ahead of Navy.

“We were a little bit off the mark,” heavyweight captain Nate Kirk ’02 said. “We expected to do better than we did.”

The highest finish the Elis managed on the day was in the freshman eight, when the Yale boat nipped the Navy boat by 0.4 seconds for second place and finished just under three seconds behind first-place Princeton.

The Lady Bulldogs, racing at home in the Case Cup on the Housatonic River in Derby, recovered from a loss to Princeton the previous week by taking four of five races from Radcliffe.

“It’s the first time in quite a while first varsity, second varsity, and first novice have swept the Radcliffe race,” captain Megan Leitch ’02 said. ” It’s really great to have my senior year be the one where we win so strongly against Radcliffe.”

The Yale boat defeated their competitors in the first varsity eight by just under three seconds, finishing with a time of 6:13.6.

“The Princeton race helped us to see a few things that we can do better,” women’s head coach Will Porter said. “Our varsity is rapidly closing in on their best race.”

The second varsity matched the win of the first varsity by defeating Radcliffe by a six-second margin. The Eli women also won the varsity four and the novice eight race.

In their last race before going to Sprints, the women travel to Providence, R.I. to take on top-ranked Brown.

Porter said the pressure will be on Brown to defeat the Elis.

“Brown is ranked one, and we are ranked three based on every race to date,” Porter said. “I am no mathematician, but even I can see that the pressure is on them to beat us.”

The Bulldog crews look to peak by the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Sprints Championships. The heavyweights will race Boston University Wednesday in Boston, Mass., while the lightweights look to defend their H-Y-P crown in the Goldthwait Cup in Cambridge, Mass.

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