Despite the rough conditions and choppy waters, both the men’s lightweight and heavyweight crew teams swept their races over the weekend in their second competition of the season.
The lightweights defeated MIT and Georgetown on the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass., taking the Joy Cup. And the heavyweights hosted Dartmouth on the nearby Housatonic, where they dominated the Big Green to claim the Olympic Axe.
“It was a bit messy, but I thought our crews did a nice job of handling the conditions,” lightweight assistant coach Colin Farrell said.
Early on a cold Saturday morning, the Y150s hit the waters of the Charles River to compete with MIT and Georgetown for the Joy Cup. All five boats that raced won their competitions. The second varsity eight beat Georgetown by a wide margin of 63 seconds.
Conditions for the Bulldogs were challenging, Farrell said.
“The wind was creating very choppy water and very slow times,” he said. “All the boats had plenty of water in them by the time racing was over.”
Nonetheless, the Bulldogs prevailed. The first and second freshman boats won by 7.5 and 36.7 seconds, respectively. The third varsity four won by 6.7 seconds, while the second varsity eight easily beat Georgetown to finish ahead by more than a minute. The first varsity race, on the other hand, was close, with Yale’s boat narrowly defeating Georgetown by a mere .89 seconds.
“The varsity race was a thriller all the way down the course,” head coach Andy Card said. “There were never more than a few seats separating Yale and Georgetown. It’s great when you get in a race like that, in conditions like those. It’s a testament to both crews that they were able to race and make pushes throughout in such slop.”
The Bulldogs took home the Joy Cup, which is just between Yale and MIT, at the end of the competition, as Yale has for the past 32 years — the Engineers have not won the Joy Cup since 1978.
But the highlight of the day, besides winning, may have been leaving the tough conditions behind to head home.
“Another great moment was getting on the Mass Pike and leaving that horrid river in our rear view mirror,” Card said.
Meanwhile, the heavyweights defeated Dartmouth’s team at home on the Housatonic to retain the Olympic Axe. Watched by a crowd of spectators that included Pundits bedecked in fur coats and silk pocket squares while smoking cigars and sipping mimosas, the Bulldog heavyweights swept all four of their events. Dealing with difficult conditions that grew as the day progressed from light to strong tailwinds, a tail current and significant whitecaps, the third varsity won by 21.4 seconds, and the second varsity won by 5.2 seconds.. The first varsity eight edged the Big Green by 2.2 seconds.
“All of our crews raced well on Saturday in windy and rough conditions,” said head coach John Pescatore.
The freshman eight also had a close race, winning by 2.4 seconds.
“The JV crew, in particular, improved substantially from last weekend,” Pescatore said. In fact, the freshman boats had to re-start their race after the Big Green forced a restart by stopping early.
“It was a windy day, but the freshmen handled the conditions well and raced hard,” assistant coach William Boyce III said.
Added Jon Morgan ’13: “It was great for every boat to win. Dartmouth is a great team, but we cleaned up.”
Next Saturday the heavyweights will travel to compete against Penn and Columbia for the Blackwell Cup.
The lightweights, meanwhile, will race Columbia and Penn in Philadelphia this coming Saturday for the Dodge Cup, before moving on to Ithaca to compete against Cornell on Sunday.
Correction: April 19, 2010
An earlier version of this article misstated the times of the second and third varsity eight heavyweight boats in the race against Dartmouth. The third varsity won by 21.4 seconds, while the second varsity won by 5.2 seconds.