Not every Yale crew is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation — that honor goes to just two of three — but all of them put in top-rate performances this weekend to win their respective cups.
The No. 1 Eli heavyweights showed their mettle against No. 3 Princeton with a crucial win in the varsity boat, though they fell to the Tigers in each of the other races. The Yale lightweight crew, which also earned a top ranking last week as the result of wins over Cornell and Columbia, did not disappoint in a sweep of No. 9 Dartmouth on Saturday, a feat the No. 6 Yale women’s crew also earned against No. 18 Radcliffe (Harvard).
HEAVYWEIGHTS FEND OFF NO. 3 TIGERS
Despite recording just one win this weekend at home, the heavyweights earned that victory where it mattered. The first varsity boat remained undefeated after racing Princeton, its most threatening challenger since the Bulldogs raced in the Head of the Charles last fall.
The boat took an early lead and ultimately fended off the Princeton boat by 2.1 seconds, and No. 9 Cornell by 4.9 seconds. The victory meant that Yale retained the Carnegie Cup for the third consecutive year.
“[Our first varsity boat] is probably one of the fastest boats in the nation right now and that is a good reference from [which] we can train the second, third and fourth boats,” captain Hubert Trzybinski ’16 said. “We lost the 2V, 3V, 4V, but the way they rowed was very good — they fought until the finish line and never really let go.”
The Bulldogs first fielded the fourth varsity boat, which defeated Cornell but lost by a little less than a length to Princeton. The third varsity race was not as close, as the Bulldogs finished last, more than six seconds slower than the Tigers and nearly four behind the Big Red.
Although the second varsity boat mounted a comeback in the last 500 meters, it was not enough, and the Elis ultimately fell 5:28.2 to 5:25.8 before the first varsity’s victory.
“In general, we faced very strong opposition, especially with Princeton, [which has] a lot of depth in the team,” Trzybinski said. “We had relatively close racing except for the 3V, [which shows] we also have a certain depth as well, but we have to improve over the next week physically and technically to get ahead of Princeton.”
This competition was the last for the Bulldogs before the postseason, which will consist of Eastern Sprints on May 15 and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship in early June. With an undefeated first boat, Trzybinski acknowledged that the team had high expectations, but he also said that the team was more focused on putting in the “best race possible at the time.”
He added that the team would take the three-week break to balance schoolwork with physical training, including endurance and strength, before focusing all of its attention on rowing after finals.
“What I’ve seen over the last two months is that the [team’s maturity] and approach to racing have developed in a positive fashion,” Trzybinski said. “[They are] very focused, very determined and have the mental capacity strength that’s needed. These are strong trends that have become obvious over the last few months.”
YALE WOMEN DOMINATE CRIMSON
After a loss to No. 9 Princeton and tie against No. 12 USC last weekend, the sixth-ranked Yale women’s team rebounded on Saturday with a triumphant sweep over Radcliffe, the women’s crew of Harvard. In its last home competition of the season, the first varsity boat retained the Case Cup.
The varsity four made it seven for seven this season in their race against Radcliffe, winning by a time of 6:44.3 to 6:53.6.
“We were pleased to come away with wins in all of our boats,” captain Colleen Maher ’16 said. “The race against Radcliffe is always an exciting one for our team, and this year proved to be no different than any other.”
The third varsity eight earned the largest victory of the day, coming in at 6:20.8, compared to 6:32.3 for Radcliffe’s third boat and 6:48.8 for its fourth. The second varsity race was closer, with Yale pulling away for a five-second win over the Crimson. Still closer, the narrowest race of the day was the first varsity battle, but Yale still had 1.8 seconds to spare in its victory.
The Bulldogs next race Brown in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday before a two-week break for finals. In mid-May, the women’s crew competes in the Ivy League Championship and at the end of the month, in the NCAA Championship.
DECISIVE VICTORIES FOR LIGHTWEIGHTS
The lightweight boats all rowed to straightforward victories over Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. Although the fourth varsity did not compete, the remaining three boats finished an average of 15.8 seconds ahead of their Big Green counterparts.
“Today was another good step for the team,” captain Austin Velte ’16 said. “The 1, 2 and 3V all had solid pieces and our 4V guys put in some good work back in New Haven.”
Racing first, the third varsity boat bounced back from a loss last weekend to Cornell earned a time of 5:51.7, compared to 6:06.8 for the Big Green. Next up was the second varsity boat, which also returned to winning ways, leading from start to finish and ultimately defeating Dartmouth by 22.4 seconds.
The last race of the day was the first varsity boat, which easily retained the Durand Cup for the fourth time in as many years. Facing a strong headwind, the Bulldogs pulled 10 seconds ahead of Dartmouth, finishing with a time of 5:37.9.
Next up for the Bulldogs is the Harvard-Yale-Princeton regatta on Saturday at Lake Carnegie in New Jersey. After that competition, the Bulldogs have Eastern Sprints and the national championships to look forward to after finals.
“As the dual season is wrapping up, we’re looking forward to tightening up our preparation and performances,” Velte said. “The whole league picks up speed in the second half of the season, so we need to keep improving on a daily basis to be where we want to be come championship season.”