The Yale men’s heavyweight crew team did not sunbathe or frolic in the lapping ocean waves last week. The squad spent its 10 days in Tampa, Fla. practicing twice daily, rowing almost 350 miles during its southern stint.
Yale head coach John Pescatore said the Florida training, along with the short fall racing season, has his team in good shape coming into spring.
“We had a great camp,” Pescatore said. “The guys rowed a lot of miles and worked hard.”
Pescatore will get his first look at the squad in a real race this weekend, as the Elis travel to Redwood Shores, Calif., for the Windermere Collegiate Crew Classic. This invitational will give the Bulldogs an opportunity to compete against schools they will not see again until the end of the season at the championship regattas. The Elis will partake in three match races against the University of California, Stanford and Princeton.
Even with the first competition on the horizon, Pescatore said his lineups are subject to change throughout the season. The Elis feature six eight-man skulls, and oarsmen must compete against one another to gain spots on the number one and two boats. This constant threat motivates the Elis to work harder outside of the two-to-three-hour meetings six days a week, boosting the performance of the team as a whole.
“I don’t like that I have to compete,” Pascal Noel ’06 said. “But we all know that is what makes us faster as a team.”
The sport downplays the elevation of the individual and is team-first oriented. The Bulldogs like being a team without one star player and stick to the motto “the whole boat crosses the finish line together.”
The Elis hope they will be rewarded for their efforts come June. The main championship for crew is the Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Mass. At the sprints, the Bulldogs will compete against 18 other schools. Pescatore expects the stiffest competition to come from the other Ivies, Navy and Wisconsin. Following the sprints, the Elis will look to redeem themselves against the Crimson at the 139th rendition of the annual Harvard-Yale regatta June 12. Last year, the Cantabs rowed all over the Elis, winning by nearly 50 seconds, a margin the likes of which had not been seen since 1911.
The Elis lost only one rower from last year and are expecting a better showing.
“I don’t want to make predictions,” Noel said. “But we’ve done enough work to be faster.”