It was a successful weekend for Yale crew, as the Bulldogs went 3–0 this weekend. Each team won its respective cup: The women kept the Connell Cup out of the clutches of Ivy foes Columbia and Penn, the lightweights defeated Navy despite rough conditions, and the heavyweights retained the Albert Cup by beating Brown for the second consecutive year.
The women, ranked No. 9 in the nation, swept all five races by large margins. The closest race — that of the first varsity four — was won by eight seconds. The first varsity eight, second varsity eight, second varsity four and third varsity eight won by 16, 16, 22 and 26 seconds, respectively. Penn and Columbia traded off second- and third-place finishes.
“As a team, we performed really well [on Saturday],” captain Nina Demmerle ’15 said. “It is really great when all boats, from the [third varsity eight boat] to the varsity, race well. Depth is really important on a team, and good results in all boats push the team’s speed even more.”
Despite originally planning to race in Leonia, New Jersey, the regatta was moved to Philadelphia in anticipation of rough conditions. Columbia’s home course, Overpeck Park, is still iced over, so Penn offered its Schuylkill River.
The setting switch did not affect the Bulldogs in the slightest, according to players.
“We found out that we were racing in Philly rather than New York on Thursday evening,” Demmerle said. “We did not expect this to happen, but it didn’t affect our preparations at all. The weather this year has certainly led to a lot of last-minute switches, but [it is] helping us adjust to any kind of racing condition.”
Similarly, the lightweights swept their opponents, finishing ahead of Navy in its three races, though by slim margins. Overcoming stiff headwinds and chop on the course, the Bulldogs fought through the conditions to bring their all-time record against Navy to 8–4.
Yale won the first race of the day, the third varsity boat, by only one one-hundredth of a second. A strong push by Navy in the final 500 meters nearly cost the Bulldogs, who hung on to finish just ahead of the Midshipmen.
The second varsity then went on to win by almost three seconds, and finally, the first varsity finished in front by 1.4 seconds. In that last race, it took a final sprint to pull Yale ahead of Navy.
“It was great to be back to racing,” captain Matt Cecil ’15 said. “We have been looking forward to it all winter. Now it’s up to us to improve our execution as the focus shifts to the Joy Cup this coming weekend.”
The heavyweights faced even worse conditions. Their race took place in snow and against an incoming tide. Despite the weather, the Bulldogs won three of their four races to win the inaugural Albert Cup.
The fourth varsity took the first race by 14 seconds. The third varsity ended up six seconds behind Brown’s freshman boat, though 22 seconds ahead of Brown’s third varsity.
“It was snowing, windy and the water was really choppy, so the racing conditions were less than ideal,” captain Lyon Van Voorhis ’15 said. “With weather like that, it often comes down to who can handle the conditions better. Fortunately, we had seen similar conditions for most of spring break, so they were not too much of a factor.”
Brown also took the second varsity race, edging out Yale by just over three seconds. It was the closest margin of the day.
However, the Bulldogs’ first varsity finished ahead of the Bears by a solid seven seconds to take the cup.
“The season is extremely young. Both Brown and Yale have only been on the water for a few weeks, so we won’t make too much of the results, positive or negative, at this early juncture,” Van Voorhis said. “Obviously, I’m proud of the way our guys performed on the day, especially in the 1V and 4V.”
But Van Voorhis acknowledged that the team is still months out from championship season, so there is a lot of speed to gain.
“Every time we line up we want to win, and the team was able to do that this past weekend,” Demmerle said.
The women next race in Ithaca, New York, against Buffalo, Cornell, Iowa and Northeastern for the Cayuga Cup. The lightweights take on Georgetown and MIT at home for the Joy Cup, and the heavyweights have a week off before welcoming Dartmouth to Derby, Connecticut.