The women’s crew team rowed to third and seventh place finishes last Saturday at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Mass.

The Regatta, first held in 1965, has grown over the past 40 years and now consists of over 7,000 athletes from around the world and attracts upwards of 300,000 spectators.

“It was great to be a part of the 40th-anniversary Head of the Charles Regatta,” captain Dinah Dimalanta ’05 said. “Due to weather conditions the race was shortened yet did not faze the team.”

After finishing as the top collegiate team in the varsity eight race last year, the Bulldogs had hoped to repeat last weekend. But Yale fell short in its bid for a second straight title, finishing with a time of 12:14.516 — more than six seconds behind second-place Princeton. The Tigers recorded a time of 12:08.312, while ASR Nereus, a Dutch team, won the 41-boat race with a time of 12:06.663.

“It is always disappointing to lose to one of your rivals,” Yale head coach William Porter said. “You would think if we could beat two USA national team boats just back from the Olympics and a Canadian national team crew we should be beating every college as well, but I guess Princeton is just really good right now.”

In the varsity fours, the Elis raced in a fleet of 20 boats, placing seventh overall and third among collegiate teams with a time of 14:14.071. The London Training Center, which won the race, clocked in at 13:32.448.

“I have raced in the four in this event for the past three years,” Dimalanta said. “Not only was it the strongest piece this boat has rowed but was the strongest Charles four I have raced in.”

The freshman crew also had a strong performance Saturday as the Bulldogs were the fifth collegiate crew to finish.

“In previous years there has not been as much parity in terms of the success of all the boats, but this year all three turned in very high-caliber races,” rower Meredith Garagiola ’05 said. “The freshman had a huge improvement from last year.”

Garagiola said this weekend’s results show how far the Yale program has progressed in recent years.

“The four finished higher than it may ever have placed, and the varsity eight has become so fast that losing to only one college boat is considered something of a disappointment,” Garagiola said. “That really shows you how fast this team is and how high we set our goals. The races were all tremendously exciting, and everyone was focused and well-prepared for the challenge.”

Last weekend’s strong finishes should give the Bulldogs confidence as they prepare for their final races of the fall. The freshmen conclude their season at the Yale Invitational, a novice race, in Derby, Conn., next Saturday. Meanwhile, the varsity team finishes up at the Princeton Chase in Princeton, N.J., Nov. 7, when the Bulldogs will once again face off against the Tigers.