“‘We move boats’ is a team motto,” men’s heavyweight rower James Tormey ’10 said. “That’s what crew is, moving boats as fast as we can, and we like to think we do that best.”

Despite pre-race obstacles and mid-race confusion, the two freshmen boats of the heavyweight crew team earned a combined fourth place finish at the Belly of the Carnegie, behind Princeton, Navy and Cornell. Yale’s ‘A’ boat finished in seventh place and the ‘B’ boat finished 11th. The men’s freshmen lightweight crew team finished 2nd overall behind Navy, with its ‘A’ boat gliding to a third place finish and the ‘B’ boat coming in seventh.

Held in Princeton, N.J., on a 2.75-mile course, the Belly of the Carnegie consists of two even-strength freshmen boats from each team, mixing recruits with walk-ons on both boats. The race is structured to gauge the depth of each school’s freshmen class, with the best team having the lowest combined score.

“[The Belly of the Carnegie] is a good barometer to show us where we are at and show us how much more we can improve, which is a lot,” heavyweight rower Derek Johnson ’10 said. “But I’m pretty confident that come the spring, we’ll be turning some heads.”

The heavyweight crew team was forced to switch its lineup two days before the race due to illness. For a freshman class that had spent little time as a group throughout the fall — recruits rowed with the varsity and junior varsity teams and walk-ons worked with the freshman coach — the change-ups swallowed valuable practice time.

“The most important thing besides power is balance,” Johnson said. “Because we hadn’t rowed together, it was tough for us to work on that. We pulled everything together and got decent times for what we had.”

As a result, the Elis felt they were at a disadvantage in this weekend’s competition.

“We didn’t get to spend as much time in mixed [recruit and walk-on] boats as the other schools,” Tormey said. “We were still able to pull it together right before the race, and we did pretty well.”

Another hang-up for the team was when the heavyweight ‘B’ boat stopped rowing about 250 meters before crossing the finish line. At least two other boats were similarly confused and also stopped, Johnson said. The Eli boat realized its error and started again fairly quickly, though its time was affected.

Greg Muir ’10 of the heavyweight team said the results were typical.

“Teams who have done well all fall did well again,” he said.

After the last regatta of the season, the heavyweight and lightweight teams have four months to prepare for spring races.

“We had a very good race,” lightweight rower Jonathan Gordon ’10 said. “We definitely did what we wanted to do. We’re looking forward to working hard and having a great spring season.”

The heavyweight crew team expressed similar sentiments.

“Out of all the schools we were racing, we are at the front of the pack,” Johnson said. “We still have a really long way to go, but this is a good foundation for us.”