Wrapping up a long winter of training, the lightweight crew team will open its spring season against Navy this weekend.
Saturday’s regatta, held in Princeton, N.J., is the first of five consecutive weekends of competition that make up the Bulldogs’ regular season. Head coach Andrew Card, who enters his 27th year at the helm of the Yale squad, said in an email that the rowers and the coaching staff are eager for a chance to test out their speed.
“We know we have to move our shells as fast as possible this year,” he said.
Last weekend, the lightweight crew team faced Trinity College in a scrimmage and won all of its matchups. Team captain Will Ferraro ’13 said that the Elis will continue trying to get faster in their race against Navy.
“We don’t know if we’re fast. We just need some results,” Ferraro said. “That’s why Navy is going to be a great test for us.”
Gregory Hausheer ’13 said in an email that the team’s strong senior and junior classes will help the Bulldogs achieve their goal of winning every race at the Eastern Sprints championship in May. Matthew O’Donoghue ’14 and Joe Hanlon ’14 have been especially leading the charge with strong performances all year, Hausheer said. Tom Swartz ’13 added that Cam Best ’13, who transitioned from rowing to coxing earlier this year, has been invaluable to the team as a coxswain.
Swartz praised the team’s coaches for its preparation for the first spring regatta.
“Our coaches are really good at developing talent,” he said. “Getting everyone to row in the same style as a freshman can be difficult. I credit our coaches for doing that really well and building a cohesive team attitude.”
Card is joined by assistant coaches Ian Duthie and Ned DelGuercio. DelGuercio, new to the team this year, is a former member of the United State lightweight national team.
This year is the first in which freshmen will be eligible to compete at the varsity level for the team. However, no Yale freshmen will row in the varsity boat, and the team will maintain the traditional all-freshman boat. Swartz praised his coaches’ choice to keep the freshmen together, adding that it was “an important decision for development and their class.”
In their brief fall season, the Yale eights posted impressive results, including a first-place finish at the Head of the Housatonic and a second-place finish, a mere two seconds behind Harvard, at the Princeton Chase.
Although the spring competitions are just beginning, Ferraro said that the team has reached the home stretch in a grueling quest for a national championship.
“It’s late March; the money is in the bank,” Ferraro said. “We are already 95 percent of who we are going to be. Right now it’s about focusing on the little things, getting a little bit better each day and trusting the coaching staff.”
Yale has won four of its last five regattas against the Navy Midshipmen.