In cold and drizzle. the Yale varsity eight lay steady at the line beside stiff competition.
At 3:51 p.m. on Sunday afternoon the men’s heavyweight crew team started off on a nearly three-mile course at the Head of the Charles regatta in Cambridge, Mass. alongside both college and non-collegiate club teams. With a time of 14:46, the Bulldogs crossed the finish line for a 12th place finish out of a field of 41 teams in the Championship Eights race. The Princeton Training Center, of no connection with Princeton University, took first place in the event with a time of 14:03.
“The boats are going faster than this time last year,” Yale head coach John Pescatore said. “The results are better this year, everything is better this year.”
Brown’s varsity-eight boat finished just over a second ahead of Yale. The Bulldogs held a lead over Brown for the first two miles of the race, but fell behind in the last three-quarters of a mile when the Elis were stalled behind a slower boat.
“We got caught on the outside of a crew we were trying to pass on the last big turn and lost a couple seconds there, but other than that it was pretty good,” captain Andrew Brennan ’04 said.
Yale managed to hold off the 13th-place U.S. Naval Academy by five hundredths of a second.
Pescatore said he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I feel really good about it,” Pescatore said. “Only five college teams finished ahead of us, which I’m thrilled about.”
Many of the participating teams were private rowing clubs with no collegiate affiliation.
The Elis finished sixth among all colleges and fifth in their conference, the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges.
“We finished ahead of many of the crews we’ll see this spring but behind a bunch as well, so we’ll just have to keep working to improve,” Brennan said.
Harvard took the top spot among the Ivies, earning fourth place overall with a time of 14:60. Princeton placed fifth, only a few hundredths of a second off the Crimson pace.
In the Championship Fours the Elis finished 14th out of 28 boats with a time of 16:54. The Victoria Rowing Club took first place with a time of 15:35.
In the Freshman Eights the Bulldog rookies rowed to a third place finish behind second-place Harvard. The Homberger Rowing Club won the event. Yale’s freshmen coach, Evans Liolin, said the team did well considering they started in the 28th position. Coach Liolin gave considerable credit to coxswain Alfred Shikany ’07.
“Every day they just simply try to be the best individuals, and the best team they can be,” Liolin said.
The Head of the Charles began in 1965 and has become the largest two-day rowing event in the world. The race includes participants from around the country and the world.
The heavyweights will next row at Princeton for the Princeton Chase on Oct. 26.
“We’ll keep working hard this week and are hoping for an even better showing at the Chase this weekend,” Brennan said.