A doubleheader for Yale lightweight crew’s first varsity boat on the Housatonic River on Saturday saw mixed performances.
While the Bulldogs led Cornell and Delaware from start to finish to win by 4.1 seconds Saturday morning, the same boat fell by 2.7 seconds to Dartmouth in the race for the Durand Cup later in the afternoon.
The second varsity boat also saw a split result — though the other way around, losing to Cornell and Delaware but beating out Dartmouth by over five seconds. The third varsity and freshman boats remained undefeated throughout the day.
“This was a big weekend for the team, a big test for all the crews,” said head coach Andy Card. “I am glad we went through it.”
Captain Andrew Hakanson ’11 echoed Card’s sentiment, commending the race Dartmouth rowed and saying that the race would help with the crew’s development.
In the first race, the rainy conditions and mild headwind were worse than the conditions crews will likely face when the championship season kicks off with the May 15 Eastern Sprints, Card said.
“It’s akin to playing the AFC championship game in snow in Foxborough [in Massachusetts] when you know the Super Bowl is played in nice conditions in the Superdome [in New Orleans, La.],” he said.
Meanwhile, the Dartmouth’s strong performance provided a useful trial for the first varsity crew, he said, adding that he had “absolutely no regrets” about the result.
In last year’s race for the Durand Cup, Dartmouth and Yale’s first varsity boats finished in a dead heat, a rare-occurrence that Card said he could not recall happening on any other occasion.
With the doubleheader completed, the team has just one more regular season race before the Eastern Sprints — a regatta against Harvard and Princeton for the Goldthwait Cup in Cambridge, Mass., on April 30.
“It’s a really tight league this year, and this weekend is always a big one for us,” said Will Zeng ’11, who sits in the stroke seat of the varsity boat. “We’ll be bringing our best speed to bear.”
Though next weekend’s race promises to be filled with “high levels of intensity,” Hakanson said the speed of other crews is out of Yale’s hands and the Bulldogs will do well if they remain focused on constantly finding speed.
It is difficult to predict how Yale’s boats stack up against those from Harvard and Princeton, Card added.
“With the turbulent weather this spring, no one really knows where they stand,” he said. “They really only know that they have to get faster — it’s the same with us.”
Yale came in third at last year’s Harvard-Yale-Princeton Regatta on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J., finishing behind the winning Crimson by a margin of just under 12 seconds.
Looking beyond next weekend’s regatta, Zeng said the competitive ethic of the lightweight rowers would play an important role in spurring further improvement.
“There are three weeks before the Sprints, so for engaged and determined athletes, there is plenty of time to get faster,” Card said.
Racing will take place on the Charles River this Saturday.