The men’s lightweight crew team just had another perfect weekend.
On Saturday, Yale traveled to Hanover, N.H., to take on the defending Eastern Sprints champion crew, encountering fast conditions and speedy races. The crew swept the Big Green and reclaimed the Durand Cup after two years of separation.
The cup is usually fought over by Rutgers, Dartmouth and Yale, but the Rutgers squad was recently downgraded to club status.
“We knew we had to be at our best to have a chance to get it back,” Yale head coach Andy Card said of the cup. “Dartmouth is the EARC Sprints champ of 2007, and they command respect. We expected them to take it to us all the way down the course.”
The varsity eight had smooth conditions on the swift-moving Connecticut River and bested Dartmouth by 4.5 seconds, finishing with a quick time of 5:07.9 to secure the Durand Cup. Including this victory, the varsity boat has failed to drop a race in 2008.
After a tough race on the choppy Housatonic against Cornell, Penn and Columbia the weekend before, the Bulldogs continued their successes under vastly different circumstances.
“Last week, we were forced to handle a very slow and choppy racecourse, while this week the water was fairly calm but extremely fast,” Brendan McCook ’10 said. “We were able to succeed both by adapting to the conditions and not letting them get us out of our rhythm.”
But the highlight of the competition was the 2V race.
The boats set out and were even through the final 500 meters of the race. The horse race continued through the home stretch, and Yale just barely managed to get its bow ahead of Dartmouth, making for a 0.5-second margin of victory.
“I think we held our poise and raced it until the end,” Card said. “We never gave up, neither did Dartmouth, and it was just a great race to take part in — and to win it is even more special.”
Captain and 2V four man Pete Reiser ’08 said the narrow victory was particularly rewarding.
“It’s always a good feeling to come away with a win, especially in a close race against a team you respect a lot,” Reiser said.
The freshman eight and the 3V boats both grabbed easy victories, coming in 14.4 seconds and 16.2 seconds ahead of the Big Green, respectively. The teams were helped by the favorable tailwind and current.
The strong Eli crew will be back in action Saturday in Cambridge to compete for the Goldthwait Cup and the Vogel Cup against Princeton and Harvard. With the introduction of the Vogel Cup in 2003, the HYP competition now revolves around two trophies.
The new cup is given to the squad that accumulates the most points at the three-way competition. Since 2003, Harvard has had it for three years and Yale for two. Harvard will be defending their hold on the Goldthwait Cup after defeating Yale and Princeton last year. The Tigers have not held the Goldthwait since 1999.
“The HYP is obviously an important race for us, so we will be doing everything we can to get a little faster every day,” Reiser said.