With 35 years worth of alumni on hand as spectators, this year’s edition of Yale women’s crew carried on the team’s proud tradition Saturday on the Housatonic River. Visiting Princeton stood no chance against the Bulldogs, dropping all five of the day’s races to Yale’s boats.
The nation’s top-ranked varsity eight boat was pushed by the Tigers but ultimately finished off No. 6 Princeton by just over three seconds. The second varsity took a commanding victory in their race, followed by Yale’s novice eight boat, which, because Princeton did not race a novice eight boat, competed in the second varsity race.
The first, second, and third varsity four boats also raced to easy victories, completing the Bulldogs’ sweep.
“It is hard to choose which boat I was most proud of,” said captain Christina Person ’09. “I believe all three of our fours — especially the third varsity crew — deserve recognition for the quiet intensity that they bring to the team and to the races.”
Coach Will Porter agreed. “All of our crews raced well,” he said. “It was good to race at home and in flat water for the first time this season.”
Saturday’s conditions were the best the team had seen all season, with blue skies, calm water, and little wind, providing a perfect backdrop to the day’s ceremonies.
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Yale women’s crew, in particular the 1979 undefeated national championship varsity eight, a luncheon was held, and shells were dedicated to the 1979 squad, as well as former novice eight coach Carol Bower, a member of the Rowing Hall of Fame.
“Being with the women who made my team’s success on Saturday possible was humbling,” said Person. “Links to the past are made in many ways, from sharing the locker room that these women fought for, to singing off the boats, to raising a broom on the flag pole when all boats in the boathouse were victorious. It was a fun day and one that will be remembered for years to come by many Yale women.”
Porter was equally as impressed. “The 35th celebration was a special day for Yale women’s crew,” he said. “It brought together women from four decades with very different athletic experiences but a common love for Yale women’s crew. It was very cool.”
That the festivities were accompanied by such resounding victories made the day that much more unforgettable.
“Beating Princeton has been a very difficult thing for our program.” Porter said. “In the past 20 years we have only been able to do it three times; it just happens to be the last three years, but I know they are the best dual racers in our league. They are very hard to beat one on one. Because of that I am proud of our athletes.”
The Bulldogs will look to continue their success Saturday against Radcliffe and Tennessee on the Charles River in Boston.