It was a disappointing weekend for the heavyweight and lightweight crew teams, as both of their previously undefeated varsity eight boats lost their titles and finished in last place.
On Saturday, the heavyweight team took on Cornell and Princeton in Ithaca, N.Y., while the lightweight team travelled to Dartmouth to race the Big Green. The heavyweights faced a strong headwind with minimal current, which made race times longer than in ideal conditions, whereas the lightweights had to contend with only a mild headwind that lessened throughout the day.
The heavyweight team, which has swept the V 8+, junior varsity 8+ and freshman 8+ in all of its earlier regattas this season, instead lost all three races and the contested Carnegie Cup to Cornell. Yale ranked second in the junior varsity eight and the freshman eight races, but finished third in the varsity.
In the V8+ race, all three crews were fairly even in the first 1000m of the 2000m course, but in the second half of the race, Cornell and Princeton pulled ahead of the Bulldogs. The Cornell varsity boat crossed the finish line at 6:00.7, followed by Princeton at 6:04.6 and Yale at 6:11.3.
“We rowed an aggressive race off the start but never settled into a rhythm,” team captain Tom Dethlefs ’12 said. “Without a stable rhythm, we didn’t have the cohesiveness to keep the boat speed up in the last part of the race. We had a very good week of training leading up to the Carnegie Cup, and so while this was certainly not ideal I don’t think it was representative of the speed we have been producing in practice.”
Dethlefs added that if the team continues to train as it has, it should be able to rebound from these loses and do well in the Eastern Sprints, its first championship race of the season.
The lightweight crew team managed to win its JV 8+, V 4 and F 8+ races against Dartmouth by sizable margins — 19.0, 4.5 and 9.6 seconds respectively. But that was not enough to win the contested Durand Cup. Despite taking an early lead in the V 8+ race, the Big Green caught up to the Bulldogs by the halfway point and ended up besting them 6:03.6 to 6:09.1.
Head coach Andy Card said the team was disappointed to come up short against Dartmouth in the varsity races, but that the race served as a learning experience. He added that the coxswains did well navigating the Connecticut River and that Yale’s JV 8+, V 4 and F8+ have improved their speed.
Team captain David Walker ’12 agreed, adding that the team did well to win three out of four races on Saturday. He added that the varsity race was competitive, despite being the squad’s first loss of the season.
Next weekend, the lightweight team will take on Harvard and Princeton for the Goldthwait Cup in its first and only home regatta of the season. Both the heavyweights and the lightweights will compete in the Eastern Sprints in mid-May and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship at the beginning of June.