With a strong headwind at their backs, the men’s heavyweight crew team pulled off the line last Sunday for the last time this fall.
Three Bulldog boats rowed in the heavyweight Eights event at the Princeton Chase regatta, hosted by Princeton University on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J. The Yale B boat finished with the best time for the Bulldogs, clocking in at 14:08, good for fifth place. The Yale A boat finished eighth with a time of 14:14, and the C boat finished near the bottom of the 24 boat group with a time of 15:30. Princeton took first place in the Eights with a time of 13:40.
Before the three-mile race, Yale head coach John Pescatore referenced the Bulldogs’ performance at Oct. 19’s Head of the Charles.
“I told them to try to build on it [the Head of the Charles] by gaining on the teams that finished ahead of us last week, and keep the ones we beat behind us,” Pescatore said.
The Bulldogs finished better than last year when the two competing Eli boats finished 10th and 17th in the Eights event.
This year’s fifth place finish came behind Princeton, Cornell, Navy and a second Big Red boat. Coach Pescatore said he thought the team performed better at last weekend’s Head of the Charles, where the top Eli boat finished 14th out of 41 boats — sixth among all colleges and fifth in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges conference.
“I am pleased with the results, but it was not a great finish,” Pescatore said. “Last week was better.”
Captain Andrew Brennan ’04 was disappointed with the results for the same reasons as Pescatore.
“Princeton was the only crew at the race that had beaten us at the Head of the Charles, so we were hoping to make up some ground on them,” Brennan said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
Brennan said the Eli A boat, in which he rowed the sixth seat, jumped ahead of Georgetown from the start and beat the Hoyas handily. However, Syracuse, which had trailed the Elis for much of the race, edged the Bulldog A boat by two hundredths of a second at very end.
“In our prior races this fall, we hadn’t been in that racing situation — having a crew following us closely behind for so long — and that might have made us a little frantic in our piece,” Brennan said.
The Bulldog B boat finished three spots ahead of the A boat. Coach Pescatore said the A boat crew might have tired themselves out with their efforts in practice the week before the race.
“[The A boat crew was] a little bit tired, a little bit flat,” Pescatore said. “They are the hardest workers, all in that boat.”
Captain Brennan said the competitiveness between the A-boat and the B-boat is a good sign and added that the two boats were aggressive all week in practice.
“It’s good — it shows that there are a lot of guys on our squad who want to go fast and be in the first boat in the spring,” Brennan said.
Yale also rowed two junior varsity boats in the men’s heavyweight Fours event and had a top finish of eighth place. As in the Eights, Princeton took first place in the Fours with a time of 15:05.
The Bulldogs will have to wait until April 10, when they face Dartmouth, to race competitively again. In the meantime, Pescatore said his rowers will continue to practice at the Housatonic River until Thanksgiving, after which they will be training hard by running the stairs at the Yale Bowl and erging in the basement crew tanks at Payne Whitney.
Brennan said he was looking forward to the spring but that the team would remember the lessons of the fall.
“We’ll keep these results in mind as we get off the water and start our indoor training,” Brennan said.