The Yale lightweight crew took home the Eads Johnson trophy on Saturday, winning four races out of five in the season opener against Navy.
The Johnson Cup race took place at Princeton’s Lake Carnegie, Princeton — a neutral halfway point between New Haven and Annapolis, Md., where the U.S. Naval Academy is located. This race marked the first time the Bulldogs won both the first and second varsity races against Navy.
Lightweight crew captain Dan Ensslen ’09 said that the crew needs to keep up the hard work to maintain success this season.
“While we were lucky enough to win most of our races this past weekend,” he said. “We will have to continue elevating the bar and increasing our standards if we are going to continue to have success down the road.”
Indeed, though this was the first time that Yale won the first, second and third varsity boat races and the first freshman race against Navy, the top three boats — first and second varsity and first freshman — were all won by a margin of less than four seconds. The first Yale varsity boat beat out Navy 6:08.1 to 6:10.3, second varsity by a similar margin of 6:16.5.1 to 6:19.2, third Varsity a more substantial margin of 6:28.0 to 6:36.5. The first freshmen boat edged out the Midshipmen 6:27.1 to 6:30.9, and the second freshmen boat lost by a margin of 23 seconds, 6:38.2 to 7:01.2.
The condition of the course Saturday was not a factor in the race’s results, Ensslen said.
“We were lucky that the conditions stayed quite favorable for the course of the day,” he said.
Head coach Andy Card added, “The course was flat water with some variable headwind; it was a nice day for rowing, but not for record times.”
Looking to the future, the Y150 squad is cautiously optimistic. Last Saturday’s success was encouraging, but both Ensslen and Card expressed that more work needed to be done for continued success.
“Every race is a stepping stone in the progress to the championship level, so it’s nice to know that we are in the mix. We know this since Navy is always a team with depth and talent.” Card said. “It’s always an achievement to race well against the Mids.”
Ensslen echoed these sentiments, adding that the team owed Saturday’s success to its training philosophy.
“We tried to approach this weekend with the same intensity we bring to practice each day of the week,” he said.
The crew will take on MIT and Georgetown in the Joy Cup race Saturday on their home course on the Housatonic River.