The lightweight crew team swept its opponents again this weekend, beating the MIT and Georgetown crews at a home regatta on the Housatonic River Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs were unfazed by breezy conditions that forced them to adapt to a powerful tailwind. With its victory over MIT, Yale maintained its iron grip on the Joy Cup, awarded to the winner of the annual MIT/Yale race, which Yale has held since 1979.
“I thought all boats did a good job of handling the rough, windy conditions,” captain William Ferraro ’13 said in an email.
The rowers raced in a bitter windchill that forced their parents and friends to don heavy winter gear on the spectator boat that followed them. While he acknowledged the cold conditions, Matt Segal ’16 said that the thrill of racing made the wind easy to ignore.
“Once you start, the adrenaline kicks in and you don’t notice a thing,” he said.
The regatta began with a race between freshman fours from Georgetown and MIT, which the Engineers won handily. The third varsity four was the first boat to compete for the Bulldogs in the next race of the day. Yale’s four pulled away after 500 meters and was never seriously challenged by the other teams, finishing in 6:42.1, 12 seconds ahead of MIT.
Cameron Best ’13, the coxswain for the third varsity crew, said the team got off to a clean start and credited Scott Isaac ’14 with keeping the crew together through the race.
The Yale freshman eight followed up with an even more dominant victory, cruising to a 25 second win over the Hoyas. The freshmen finished their race in 5:50.5.
“It was a great race, one of the best we’ve had all season, if not the best,” Thomas Foster ’16 said.
The second varsity race presented the biggest challenge to the Yale crew. The Engineers put pressure on Yale, keeping their boats almost even until the Bulldogs pulled slightly ahead near the race’s end and came away with the four-second victory.
The Yale varsity eight closed out the morning’s races with another strong performance, pulling ahead of MIT and Georgetown at the start and never giving up the lead. The Elis drove through the final kilometer at 38 strokes per minute, a significantly faster rate than that of the other boats. Yale finished in 5:36.0, MIT in 5:45.2 and Georgetown in 6:11.8.
“We were able to develop a good rhythm,” Tom Swartz ’13 said. “We’ve been well coached for these conditions.”
This week, Yale will prepare for back-to-back regattas on Saturday on Sunday. After racing Penn and Columbia in Philadelphia, they will travel to Ithaca to face Cornell the following day. Head coach Andrew Card said in an email that he is looking forward to the unique competitive atmosphere that comes with racing Ivy League opponents.
“Defeating an Ivy opponent does have some deep satisfaction, because these schools have been competing [in the sport] for far longer than the Ivy League has formally existed, so to be a part of that long history is very rewarding,” he said.
Yale’s race against Penn will also be its first against Quaker assistant coach Colin Farrell, who coached Yale’s freshmen until last year.
Card said that he remained close with Farrell and that it would be an honor to race against the former Eli coach’s crews.
The Bulldogs won all three of their races against Penn and Columbia last year and took two out of three against Cornell.