Rowers test waters, take first races of fall

Sometimes the results do not tell the whole story.

The Yale lightweight crew team seemed to pass its first preseason test at the Stonehurst Invitational in Rochester, NY Sunday, taking first place with a combined time of 30:02:02. But head coach Andy Card was not too focused on his team’s finish.

“It’s not really about the result, it’s about the experience,” Card said. “At the Stonehurst [Invitational], there were plenty of mistakes for our first effort, and there is much to improve. It’s just nice to take a break from training and get out and race once in a while.”

The Stonehurst Invitational featured an unmatched three-mile race in the morning and a 1500 meter side-by-side matched race in the afternoon. After both competitions, the time for the matched race was then tripled and added to the time for the unmatched race. The team with the lowest time won the Invitational.

The varsity team finished with a time of 16:39:64 in the morning race and a time of 4:27:52 in the afternoon race.

Queens University and Brock University finished second and third overall at the Stonehurst Invitational with times of 30:31 and 30:57, respectively. The Bulldogs’ junior varsity team finished fourth with a combined time of 31:16.

The varsity Elis’ victory came a day after the Elis sent a separate team, consisting of crew novices, to the Housatonic Regatta Saturday. Yale has not yet reported its results for this meet.

Despite not knowing the final tallies, Card said he was excited about the young Bulldogs’ performance at the Housatonic.

“The Housatonic Regatta is the first regatta for our walk-ons,” he said. “And it’s always an adventure to see them come barrelling down the course with the joy that only a rowing novice can possess.”

Card continued to downplay the importance of his players’ showings at both meets.

“Again, for us, the Housatonic and Stonehurst are not about the result,” he said. “They are about the experience and what we can learn from going through the race experience, much like pre-season baseball and football games.”

Nevertheless, with the Elis’ strong performance at the Stonehurst Invitational and youthful contributions at the Housatonic, Card saw the entire weekend as a positive experience overall for his veteran and rookie oarsmen alike.

“We have new people in new seats, including coxswains,” he said. “So I think that just getting the whole squad out on the water racing again since the spring for the older guys and for the first time ever for the freshmen was a thrill.”

The varsity Elis will have two more preseason competitions before the regular season begins. The team heads to the Head of the Charles in Cambridge, Mass. Oct. 24 and to the Princeton 3-Mile Chase in Princeton, N.J. Nov. 7.

Last year, the lightweights finished 12th overall in the Championship Eights at the Head of the Charles. At the Princeton Chase the Yale B-squad finished eighth overall and the Yale A-squad came in 10th.

While the results may not have mattered this weekend, there is no doubt the Bulldogs show promise for the upcoming regular season.

The men’s lightweight crew team competes at the Head of the Housatonic last Saturday.
Ed Stein
The men’s lightweight crew team competes at the Head of the Housatonic last Saturday.

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