The Yale women’s crew team extended their domination at the Head of the Charles Regatta on Sunday, winning the collegiate title for the second straight time.

The Bulldog Eights came in fourth place overall behind The London Training Center (the Canadian National Team), USRowing (the first U.S. national team boat), and the Princeton Training Center (the second U.S. national team boat).

Forty boats participated in the three-mile-long Women’s Championship Eights race. In such races, boats start sequentially 15 seconds apart. Each boat is timed to determine the winners, and the first college boat to finish the race wins the collegiate title.

“I think everyone in the varsity Eights was a little nervous going into the race,” captain Litsy Witkowski ’04 said. “There was a lot of pressure on us to do well especially because we had such a terrific result last year.”

The Elis finished third overall last fall and first among the collegiate boats. The Bulldogs’ success last year earned them a start among the three national teams on Sunday. The first U.S. team and the Canadian team started ahead of Yale while the second U.S. team started right behind.

“Instead of getting flustered by the speed and prestige of the boats around us, we really used them to push us and improve our own speed,” Witkowski ’04 said.

“We benefited from starting position between the U.S. and Canadian National Teams,” head coach William Porter said. “The split times during the first half of the race were very fast.”

Though the Elis thought the second U.S. national team boat was going to overtake them in the first mile, Yale was able to steer an excellent course and keep up to pace with the U.S. national team, holding them off the entire race.

“[Coxswain] Jehan Budak [’05] did an amazing job steering,” Ashley Brzozowicz ’04 said.

Yale also found success in the Championship Fours race, finishing eighth overall and sixth out of the college teams. The freshman boat finished 13th in the Youth Eights race, but a missed buoy bumped them down to 18th place.

While the team showed great success at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the races that count are in the spring.

“The Head of the Charles result is very encouraging and it shows us that we are on the right track, but speed in the fall does not necessarily correlate with speed in the spring,” Brzozowicz said.

Porter said he was pleased with the way the team rowed but knows that it has a lot of work to do before the spring comes around.

“The team did a good job handling pressure, staying calm and rowing the way we know how to row,” Porter said. “However, we can get a lot faster. I don’t think we are rowing very well.”

While the team won the Collegiate title at the Head of the Charles and finished second at the Princeton Chase last fall, team members said they were disappointed by their performance this past spring, when they finished fourth at the Eastern Sprints and 10th at the NCAA Championship.

Yale crew will travel to Princeton, N.J. this coming weekend to compete in the Princeton Chase.

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