Boston University and Dartmouth were no match for Yale women’s crew last weekend.
Rebounding from its 2.5 second loss to Cornell last weekend, the first varsity boat beat Dartmouth by eight seconds to claim the Class of 1985 Cup. Meanwhile, the second varsity won by seven seconds, the varsity four by 13 seconds and the third varsity by a whopping 23 seconds. Rowers were enthusiastic about their team’s performance but head coach Will Porter cautioned that the season is still early and there was much ahead for the No. 10 Bulldogs.
“It is still very early in the northeast, the weather and water is just starting to warm up, I feel like we are just starting to get going and I do not think this group is at top speed yet,” Porter said.
He said that this week’s race was a mental improvement from the previous week’s piece, particularly in the more aggressive way that Yale rowed. Porter attributed the change to the hard work during the week after the loss to Cornell.
Captain Caroline Nash ’11 agreed with Porter’s analysis that the team had changed its attitude. She said that they had not been ready for a competitive race against Cornell and were unprepared when Cornell kept up with them.
“What we sort of learned from our season this far is that it’s going to be a sort of unpredictable season,” Nash said. “The only way you can deal with that sort of unpredictability is by going into every single race as though it is the toughest race of your season.”
Yale got a quick start at the Head of the Charles, said Sarah Brownlee ’11, and around the 500-meter mark, the coxswain announced to the team that they had gained the lead. Nonetheless, Nash said, the team continued to row as hard as it could, even once its victory was assured. She described her team’s mentality as “100 percent effort every single stroke.”
Nash said that she was impressed by the rowing of the third varsity boat, which has won by 23 seconds, 11 seconds, and 20 seconds in its past three races. The rowers’ speed has created upward pressure on the rest of the team to row faster, she said.
“The ‘3v’ has been really feisty,” Nash said.
The goal of the third varsity is to get to the maximum amount of speed that they can, said Mary Barrosse-Antle ’11, the stroke of the third varsity. The stroke is the first rower on the boat and the one who determines the rhythm for the rest of the rowers.
The third varsity boat has not lost a race this spring season.
“We have been lucky to find a rhythm that works for us so far,” Barrosse-Antle said.
The second varsity has also been consistently strong, winning all of its pieces, though not by as great margins as the third varsity.
Lizzy McDermott ’12, the second varsity stroke, said that their victory this weekend was due to her boat’s hard work during the week. The boat found a good rhythm early and held on to it to win. They paid no attention to the other boats and focused only on themselves, she said.
“I’m really proud of everyone in the boat,” McDermott said. “I think we raced maturely.”
More work was ahead for the team, McDermott added.
Next weekend Yale faces No. 1 Princeton and No. 9 Ohio State at home. The Princeton crew is “amazing,” Porter said, adding that Yale will have to row its best to win.
Nash said that racing against very talented teams, like Princeton, would drive the team to achieve its goal: the fastest 2000-meter piece they could race. Difficult races are opportunities for speed improvements, she said.
“It helps to have blazing speed bearing down on you,” Nash said.