While both the lightweight and heavyweight crew teams finished similarly this weekend, their outlooks on the season were quite different.
This weekend at the Princeton Chase regatta on Lake Carnegie, the Yale men’s heavyweight eights finished sixth in a field of 24, and the men’s lightweight eights team placed fifth out of 35. The racing consisted of individual time trials on the three-mile course, with each team racing in heats separated by 10-second intervals.
At the last regatta in which Yale competed, the Head of the Charles in Boston, Mass., on Oct. 24, the heavyweight eights finished seventh, and the lightweight eights finished fifth. While lightweight captain Alex Ramsay ’05 said his boat had done well, heavyweight coach John Pescatore expressed disappointment in his squad’s performance. Pescatore said the team had lost a step from the Head of the Charles.
“We were slower in this event,” Pescatore said. “The teams that were behind us at the Head of the Charles put in a strong effort.”
Pescatore also blamed the two weeks between the regattas for sapping much of the Elis’ momentum.
“Two weeks is a big chunk of time, and there’s no reason people can’t continue to work and get stronger and fitter,” Pescatore said. “The Princeton Chase rewarded good teams,” he added.
Pescatore felt that the team had failed to improve significantly since the Head of the Charles. Before the first regatta of the season, the Head of the Housatonic, members of the heavyweight team were in competition for the eight spots on the boat. This drove up the team’s fitness, as each rower sought to beat out his teammate for a position, Pescatore said. Although he changed the lineup going into the Princeton Chase, he still felt there was not enough battling for the top eight positions once the starters were announced earlier in the season. As a result, the team’s relative fitness suffered, he said.
“Even though it wasn’t a great end to the season, I look forward to indoor training and improving the fitness of the team,” Pescatore said.
On the other hand, Ramsay was content with his team’s consistent finishes this fall. Princeton and Georgetown, which finished third and fourth at the Head of the Charles, respectively, finished eighth and seventh, respectively, at the Princeton Chase.
According to Ramsay, the top teams often trade positions from weekend to weekend. Competition between the schools is tight, he said, and teams have ample opportunity to improve with two weeks between races.
A factor in the lightweights’ consistency may be their approach to each regatta.
“We switch the crews slightly in each boat,” Ramsay said. “You have to keep changing to break up stagnation and try to gain a little more speed.”
Ramsay said the strength of the lightweight rowers lies in their depth.
“We have no stars on this team,” he said. “You need eight outstanding people to be successful.”
Both teams look forward to the spring season and the ultimate goal of reaching the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in early June.
“We’re excited — I feel like we put in a good performance,” Ramsay said. “I’m sure our competitors will be working hard as well.”