Yale women’s crew had a strong showing against archrival Radcliffe on Saturday on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn.
The No. 15 Bulldogs took four out of five matchups and captured the Case Cup by defeating No. 12 Radcliffe in the varsity eight race.
“I thought we raced really well as a team,” head coach Will Porter said. “It was our most complete effort of the year, as far as being aggressive and rowing well as crews and really representing Yale women’s rowing for what it is.”
In the varsity eight race, Yale gained an advantage off the start, and by the 1,000-meter mark, the Elis were more than a full boat length ahead of their rivals. The Bulldogs crossed the line at 6:46.0, more than seven seconds ahead of Radcliffe, to take back the Case Cup after Harvard claimed the prize last year.
“I thought they rowed their best race of the year to date,” Porter said. “They raced with a high level of trust and performed well.”
The second varsity eight turned out to be the closest race of the day. The Bulldogs opened up an early lead, but Radcliffe surged to pull even with Yale midway through the race, and then built a slight advantage of its own. Though the Bulldogs fought back over the last 500 meters, Radcliffe edged the Bulldogs by 1.3 seconds to capture the race.
“We had a close, hard-fought race that we learned a lot from,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said of the event.
The varsity four race was also fiercely contested. Though Radcliffe had built a two-seat lead by the 1,000-meter mark, the Elis used a higher stroke rate over the last 500 meters of the race to come from behind and earn a victory. The Bulldogs clocked in at 7:34.8, finishing 1.3 seconds ahead of Radcliffe.
Yale’s second varsity four enjoyed a ten-second margin of victory over Harvard’s B and C boats, while Yale’s third varsity eight bested its Radcliffe counterpart by a little over six seconds.
Though the Bulldogs had struggled in recent weeks to keep up with their competition, Porter said the team had simply taken longer to develop its peak speed than its opponents, many of which were nationally ranked teams.
“The thing about a racing sport is getting to your top end speed at the right time of the year,” Porter said. “Our schedule was very challenging early this year, and we just weren’t up to speed as quickly as the other teams were. We seem to have found another gear in these last couple weeks, and we’re as fast as many other crews in our league, which is great. We’re gaining speed at the correct time.”
The Bulldogs return to action this Saturday when they battle Brown for the Nat & Anne Case Cup in Providence, R.I.