Although the men’s lightweight and heavyweight crew teams spent Sunday competing in the Stonehurst Regatta in Rochester, N.Y., most of the competition was spent gearing up for this weekend’s regatta at the Head of the Charles in Cambridge, Mass. The women’s team had its own tune up, at the Head of the Housatonic in Derby.

The men’s lightweight team finished second in its division while the women’s crew team finished first in the varsity race. The heavyweight men experimented with different boat arrangements for the Head of the Charles Regatta Sunday.

The lightweights fell to Brock University, the reigning Canadian national champions. The Badgers were craving revenge after losing to the Bulldogs last fall.

“Everyone is gunning for us,” lightweight team coach Andy Card said.

After an unexpected mishap with a buoy placement, Yale lost to Brock in the 5-kilometer race by a slim margin of 3.46 seconds and seemed to loose momentum after the incident. Brock went on to defeat Yale in the 1,500-meter races. The Bulldogs did manage to win the 3-mile race and finished second overall.

“We were all very pleased with our performance this weekend. With only four returning rowers from last year’s varsity eight, we recognize that it will take time for us to find speed,” Ben Hamilton ’03 said. “We are trying to define this year’s crew, one practice, one race and one stroke at a time.”

Coach Card remained optimistic about this year’s team, realizing it will take time to match the chemistry of last year’s national championship squad.

“It might take our guys all year to get up to the level that the crew was at last year, so we are being patient and looking for steady improvement and a continuous increase of intensity should be the hallmarks of the varsity crew this year,” Card said.

The Yale women rowers launched their fall campaign at the Head of the Housatonic in style, taking the top spots in the open eights, fours and pairs.

In the open eight, the varsity women finished first with a time of 14:41.

“One of our goals for this race was to have all boats sweep every race, beating first boats from various Connecticut colleges, so we did a pretty good job of that,” Jordan Pearce-Bristol ’03 said.

And the Bulldogs appreciated the chance to get in the water and prepare for next weekend’s race at the Head of the Charles.

“Throughout the race, we were visualizing turns and responding to calls that we will get next weekend in Boston,” Pearce-Bristol said.

And the same flat water and mild wind that greeted the women’s team helped the heavyweight crew in Derby too.

The men experimented with different boat combinations, evenly distributing rowers from the team’s top two boats. The race provided younger rowers with valuable experience because many underclassmen participated in multiple races.

“Everyone was satisfied with their performance and felt it represented an improvement on what we’ve been working on so far this fall,” captain Sam Limmer ’03 said. “We were hoping to have a good performance this week that we could build on for the Head of the Charles next week.”