After dealing with the headwinds and rain delays caused by last weekend’s storm, Yale’s men’s crew teams finally received a respite from the tempest this weekend.
The heavyweight crew team traveled to Stanford to race in the Windermere Classic, where the team raced in near-perfect water conditions and enjoyed the 70 degree weather. In a two-day event, the Bulldogs took on Dartmouth, nationally-ranked No. 5 Stanford, and nationally-ranked No. 2 Cal. On Saturday, the varsity boat pulled out a five-tenth of a second victory margin against the Big Green but fell to Cal by 13 seconds later in the afternoon. On Sunday, the Cardinal was able to beat the Bulldogs by two seconds in another contested race.
Over the same weekend, the lightweight squad stayed home to play host to Boston College and MIT at the Joy Cup on the Housatonic River. Enjoying unseasonably balmy temperatures and flat water, the Bulldogs swept the regatta, winning the varsity race by five seconds, the JV race by 22 seconds and the freshman race by 23 seconds.
Although the heavyweights were fairly equal to Ivy League rival Dartmouth, the Elis were slightly outmatched against the California teams.
“Because they’re in the west coast, they’re on the water all through January,” heavyweight head coach John Pescatore said. “We both get to train in the winter, but spending more time on the water gives them more time to sort out their best lineups.”
As for the lightweight team, even though the Elis beat out BC by a significant margin, head coach Andy Card said the team still has room for improvement before the EARC Sprints.
“I thought the races went well from an early-preparation perspective, but we are clearly not ready to race a six-boat championship,” Card wrote in an e-mail. “Some things are starting to fall into place, and some things need some work and practice.”
In the midst of early-season preparation, the emphasis for the lightweights is gradual improvement.
“Good, hard, focused work is what we need to do and what we need to keep up,” lightweight captain Alex Ramsay ’05 said. “We’re going out there really focused, knowing that everyone else in the league is working really hard.”
Since the Sprints take place May 15 and the IRA Championships June 2-4, both the heavyweight and lightweight crew teams have plenty of time to prepare. The races against Stanford and Cal showed the heavyweights the speed they will require in order to be at the top.
“We’re getting a chance to see these west coast crews early, getting a look at them and seeing what kind of speed they have,” Pescatore said. “As the season goes on, we’ll see if we can get our speed up there.”
The lightweight league’s hierarchy is still in flux at this point in the season, so the team is concentrating on more internal issues.
“No one in the league will be the same in May as they are in April,” Card said. “Everyone is developing; only the end-of-the season races will tell who has developed the most and best.”