If “a man’s homeland is wherever he prospers,” as Aristophanes said, then the women’s crew team has been establishing an empire.
The Elis skillfully won the Class of 1985 Cup against Dartmouth and Boston University, maintaining an undefeated record by winning four of the five races they entered. The only loss of the day was in the novice eight, which fell by 2.8 seconds to the Big Green after a Dartmouth surge in the final leg of the race.
“The competitors really stepped it up and gave us a good race,” third varsity stroke Julie Andress ’07 said.
First varsity bow seat Suzanne Salgado ’08 said Dartmouth brought a really strong race, keeping up the entire length of the course and challenging the team to remain focused.
“It was definitely a solid race, we brought a lot of aggression and inward focus, concentrating on exactly what we were doing,” she said.
The varsity eight took the victory with 3.9 seconds over Dartmouth, finishing with a time of 6:13.6. The largest margin of victory was in the varsity four, which handily put away BU in 7:12.3 with nine seconds to spare.
Andress said this past week was especially important for the team, since league bids are being decided.
While the team has proven strong, it has not lost hold of its determination. Salgado said there is still speed to be gained.
“We’re definitely excited about the victories, but we’re always looking to get faster,” second varsity stroke Alex Moser ’06 said.
Although more manageable than the wicked weather from the weekend before, Saturday’s gloom left something to be desired for a first home race. Although rain is usually a challenge, there was a weak tailwind that effectively helped stabilize the boat, making for a slightly easier row, Salgado said.
Despite the weather, team members said there are both advantages and disadvantages to rowing at home on the Housatonic. On the positive side, the large fan base helped motivate the team. The heavyweight crew team was hosting its own regatta, adding to the all-around Yale fan support. Devoted Yale fans took a shuttle from Payne Whitney to the Gilder Boathouse at 7:30 a.m. to see all the races.
“It was great to have all the dedicated fans out there cheering for us,” Salgado said.
Although fan support and a familiar course — which has unusual twists and turns — increased the energy level, some team members said traveling to races has its own advantages.
“Although it’s nice being at home, it’s easier to focus when you are away the night before. We don’t have all the campus distractions,” Andress said.
Traveling also lends itself to team bonding. The Bulldogs’ intra-team chemistry is key to their success, Moser said.
“We have a really great group,” Salgado said. “We really feed off each other’s energy.”
Despite plenty of reason to be confident about next weekend’s race against Virginia and Princeton in New Jersey, the Elis, ranked third in the nation, are never satisfied with resting on past accomplishments, Andress said.
“We never get too confident because you never know what the next competition will be like,” she said.
After Saturday’s victory, Yale head coach Will Porter told the team to put this win in its back pocket and think about next week, Andress said.