The women’s crew varsity boats blazed ahead once again over the weekend, sweeping all four varsity races and handing the team yet another victory over two nationally ranked foes.
The Bulldogs took the Carola B. Eisenberg Cup for a second year running after a win by the No. 2 varsity eight boat. Saturday’s regatta on Lake Carnegie also saw wins by the second varsity eight and both the first and third varsity four boats over No. 4 Princeton and No. 12 Tennessee.
But novice boats floundered, coming in behind the Tigers in both the novice eight and the second novice four by comparatively large margins. It was the team’s first away race of the spring season — a transition the rowers managed with relative ease, captain Jennie Hansen ’08, said.
“We handled being on the road for the first time really well as a team,” Hansen said. “We came in really focused on what our goals were and stayed committed to executing through all the distractions of traveling. No matter where we are, we’re doing the same thing — just rowing 2,000 meters as fast as we can.”
The varsity eight had its narrowest margin of victory of the spring to date, clocking in at 6:38.1 for the course. Princeton began the race with a slight lead, until Yale fought back around the 400-meter mark and cruised ahead, leading for the remainder of the race. The Elis’ 2.3-second cushion was roomy in comparison to the battle being waged for second place: Ultimately, it was the Lady Volunteers who pulled in at 6:40.4, just a tenth of a second ahead of the Tigers. The Bulldogs’ first-place finish snagged them the Eisenberg Cup once again, marking the first time since 1988 that they have won the award two years in a row.
The second varsity eight enjoyed similar success, beating out the Lady Vols by an even five seconds with a time of 6:52.5. Yale’s largest margin of victory of the day — 15 seconds — came in the first varsity four race, where the Elis rowed an impressive 7:41.4, leaving Tennessee to take second with a time of 7:56.4 and Princeton to bring up the rear at 8:02.6. A 5.6-second win by the second varsity four B boat over the Lady Vols completed the Bulldogs’ sweep of the varsity races.
“The first varsity had a tight, exciting race and showed really good speed and control while under pressure from the other crews,” Hansen said. “In the second and third varsity boats we had really nice, aggressive races as well. I think we’re getting better and better and executing our race plans and are close to where we want to be. We definitely identified some things we want to continue to work on, though, so I think we can get faster over the next few weeks.”
The novice boats did not find the waters as smooth as did their varsity counterparts. The novice eight came in with a time of 7:31.6, more than 24 seconds behind the Tigers, while the second novice four also fell to Princeton with a time of 8:44.0, compared to the Tigers’ 8:28.5.
“Princeton has a talented freshman squad,” Jamie Redman ’08 said. “But I think our novices took away some important lessons from this race. I’m confident that they will work hard in the next few weeks. Our freshmen are rapidly improving in strength and technique, and I can’t wait to see how much faster they’ll be by the end of the season.”
Next weekend, the Bulldogs will compete in what could be their most challenging regatta yet: They return to the Housatonic for their final home race of the season to take on No. 13 Radcliffe and No. 3 University of Virginia. With two tough opponents in store, the team will need to be prepared for a difficult battle, and this weekend will be one of the most exciting of the season, Redman said.
“Harvard is having an excellent season so far — they’ll definitely be a tough competitor,” she said. “The Yale-Virginia race will be a nail-biter. If there was any race to watch, this is the one.”