Women’s crew extends spring season streak

Last week, the women’s crew team won four of five races and snagged the Connell Cup. It seemed like it would be a tough act to follow — until this weekend, when the Bulldogs swept all five of their races and claimed the Cayuga Cup for the fourth time in as many years.

On Ithaca’s Cayuga Lake this Saturday, the Elis annihilated rivals Syracuse and Cornell, coasting to a comfortable victory in every one of their races. Even the closest race, the Frosh/Novice 8, saw the Bulldogs finish the 2K course in 6:57.7, a substantial eight seconds ahead of second-place Syracuse and twelve seconds before the hapless Big Red.

In fact, the Novice 8’s time was one of just three sub-7:00 times turned in during the entire regatta. Yale’s Varsity 8 once again rowed the fastest time of the day, clocking in at 6:38.2, with the Orange coming in at 6:54 flat, a respectable time that was still 16 seconds too late to snag a victory. The same story was repeated throughout the day — the Bulldogs blazed in ahead of their opponents by some double-digit second count, leaving Syracuse to take second and the Big Red to trail in at third.

“We are happy about this week’s performance, but we know that there is still more boat speed to be found,” said Rachel Jeffers ’07, stroke for the Varsity 8. “We are trying to focus internally and create the fastest boats possible within our program, and as far as what’s to come, we’re excited to race and to continue to progress.”

The times throughout the regatta were much slower than those turned in during last weekend’s 2Ks, a shift due to the variance in conditions. The lack of a lightning-fast current like the one on the Schuylkill River made times like the Varsity 8’s 5:48 last weekend impossible. But the calm water and still day were certainly nothing to complain about, Jeffers said, and even the cold was “to be expected.”

Although the squad is happy with the win, they still aren’t rowing as well as they have the potential to do, head coach Will Porter said. Now, the team will focus on speeding things up even more.

“After a slow start to our season battling the cold weather, we are slowly finding some speed,” he said. “We still have work to do to find our fastest combinations in our varsity crews. We’re not there yet, but this weekend was a step forward.”

Next weekend, the squad will face Dartmouth, Boston University and Minnesota in a Massachusetts regatta. The Bulldogs are holding on to a fifth-place ranking in the NCAA Division I Varsity Eights poll, and though Dartmouth and BU are both unranked, Minnesota holds the tenth-place slot, having moved up from last week’s thirteenth.

“We’re looking forward to some tight competition in the weeks to come,” Jamie Redman ’08 said. “[Next week’s regatta] should be a great race.”

And with such a young team, the squad will need to look to its fifteen freshmen to continue to bring their enthusiasm and energy for racing to every regatta, Jeffers said.

“A big congratulations to our freshmen for their second collegiate victory,” Redman said. “They should be proud of how much they have accomplished, and I can’t wait to see how they perform this coming weekend.”

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