Yale women’s crew made a successful season debut Saturday, posting dominant results at the Head of the Housatonic Regatta in Shelton, Conn. Eli rowers won every event they entered.
“I’m definitely happy,” head coach Will Porter said. “We won the varsity eight, we won the four, the pair and our novice eight won. And every kid was able to race as well. I was very pleased with the way we started.”
The easiest task for Yale was the women’s pair, an event that featured only Yale rowers. The fastest pair, Kristi Wagner ’15 and Maddie Lips ’14 clocked in at 20:31.2 on the 2.7-mile course at Indian Well State Park. A second Yale duo also broke the 21-minute mark at 20:57.1.
Eliza Hastings ’13, Georgia Separovich ’12, Kathleen O’Keefe ’12, Nina Demmerle ’15 and coxswain Christine Devlin ’15 pulled to a commanding win in the women’s collegiate four with coxswain with a time of 17:455.4. Three Radcliffe boats trailed, with the second-place finisher 18 seconds behind the Yale vessel. Yale also took fifth and sixth places in the four-plus at 18:46.0 and 18:47.7. Fifteen boats from seven schools raced.
Yale found victory again in the women’s collegiate novice eight plus coxswain in the closest race of the day for the Blue and White. The winning boat nudged second-place University of Massachusetts by barely a second, 18:32.2 to 18:33.6. Fordham was a distant third in the six-boat competition.
Natalie King ’13 saw the opener as a both successful and useful regatta for Yale.
“As a team we raced well, but this regatta also gave us a chance to learn what we need to work on,” she said, adding that the short fall season will give the Bulldog crew “competitive opportunities to further test our team speed.”
In the women’s collegiate eight plus coxswain, Yale crossed first again and took three of the top seven spots in a field featuring 16 boats from eight colleges. Yale’s first-place time was 15:45.3, giving the Eli crew a lopsided margin of more than 25 seconds over second-place Radcliffe.
“The thing I’m excited about is that almost every kid on the team was able to race twice,” Porter said. “We haven’t done that in five or six years. It’s sort of getting back to basics for us.”
Yale also claimed the top prize in master/open eight with coxswain, posting an unadjusted 17:16.2 in an age-handicapped race with 13 boats on the water. Yale and Central Connecticut Rowing were the only two crews racing without a handicap advantage.
Head of the Housatonic, the traditional opening of the abbreviated fall season, is the first of three fall competitions for Yale. Next up is Harvard’s Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Mass. Oct. 22-23, with the Princeton Chase completing the fall series on Oct. 30.
Hastings said she liked how the new Yale recruits responded to their first collegiate test.
“The Head of the Housatonic is always exciting because our freshmen get to wear the Yale uniform for the first time and compete with the team,” Hastings said. “It was a day full of racing and tough competition, so it was rewarding to come away with a victory.”
Porter said the Head of the Housatonic is a great chance to square off against Harvard early in the season. He added that some teams take the fall season more seriously than others.
“For us, every time we put on a Yale uniform, we want to win,” Porter said.