The women’s crew varsity eight finished in second place at the Princeton Chase on Sunday, building on its strong finish at the Head of the Charles regatta the week before.
With this result, the Elis varsity eight finished its fall season without losing to an Ivy League crew. The only collegiate team to top them was Virginia, whose varsity eight finished first among collegiate boats at both the Head of the Charles and the Princeton Chase.
“It was a really good finish to our fall season,” captain Maddie Lips ’14 said. “I think we’re off to a good start. Obviously we still have some distance to close and we’ll be working all winter on that, but it was really fun to get our nose out there early on in the [season].”
Yale finished the course in 14:45.063, ten seconds behind Virginia’s time of 14:34.417, and Princeton finished its three-mile home course in 14:50.893 for third place.
The event was a head race, with teams staggering their starts in the order of last year’s results. The Bulldog A boat was the third to start, a few seconds after Princeton.
The Elis were able to pass Princeton in the final stretch of the race, but not before the two boats crashed as they glided together. Yale crossed the finish line just ahead of the Tiger boat.
Lips said that the team’s composure during the race was key to the Bulldogs’ success.
“It was a little bit breezy, and you’re trying to navigate around different boats so head racing can be crazy,” Lips said. “We kept a calm approach, which benefited us.”
Yale also beat out Ivy League crews from Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn and Columbia. Harvard did not send a women’s boat to the regatta.
The fall season showed an improvement for the Elis varsity eight, which lost to Princeton at last year’s Princeton Chase as well as at the Ivy League championship last spring.
“This year we have a little more experience,” said head coach Will Porter. “Last year we were relatively young and this year we’ve grown up a little bit. We’re more fit than we were last year, and we have a ways to go with that. I attribute it also to being a little more mature.”
Three other boats raced in the varsity eight event for Yale and finished 10th, 18th and 35th out of the 52 boats racing. The team’s B boat was ahead of the A boats from three Ivy League squads.
Porter said that Yale does not race a fours boat at the Princeton Chase because the boat gets enough fall experience at the Head of the Housatonic and Head of the Charles each year.
Virginia’s team displayed absolute domination in the eights race with three boats placing in the top five.
The Bulldogs now enter a long training period until March, when they will travel to Texas during spring break for the Longhorn Invitational. Yale is one of six teams to be invited, including Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa. This season will be Yale’s first time competing in the event.
“[Over the winter] we’re going to work on raising our fitness level, that’s a huge priority,” Porter said. “We’ll work on gaining strength … developing camaraderie and building the strength of our team. Like most teams, the harder you train together, the more you develop trust.”
After the Longhorn Invitational, Yale will begin Ivy League competition in Philadelphia against Penn and Columbia at the end of March.