The three Yale crews seemed determined to outperform one another on the water this weekend. Competing at three different locations along the East Coast, all three teams dominated from start to finish, with the heavyweight and women’s teams getting big wins over Ivy opponents and the lightweight team cruising past two teams ranked in the nation’s top 15.
The heavyweight crew performances against No. 9 Dartmouth on the Housatonic River ensured that the Olympic Axe remained Blue for another year. The No. 2 Elis swept Dartmouth over four races in springtime conditions.
The varsity eights shaded the Big Green by a narrow 2.5-second margin, even though the Bulldogs started with a significant lead through the opening 700 meters. Head coach Steve Gladstone credited Dartmouth’s top boat for being “really strong and aggressive.” After the race, Gladstone said although the Bulldogs finished first, the Yale varsity eight was uncoordinated and unaggressive because the team had assumed that Dartmouth would fade as the race went on.
“Everyone in the boat recognized it was a disorganized race,” Gladstone said. “Better to experience that early on with not a lot on the line and not where there is more at stake.”
Yale’s second varsity eights won by 6.5 seconds ahead of the Dartmouth crew, the third varsity eight won by a day-leading 8.8 seconds in the third race of the day and the varsity four fended off a strong crew to win by a narrow 2.1 seconds. Gladstone said that he was impressed with the performances from his lower boats.
To conclude the day, Yale oarsman David Wight ’56 also donated his 1956 Olympic gold medal to the University at the Gilder Boathouse.
The lightweight crew traveled up to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to defend the Joy Cup against No. 12 Massachusetts Institute of Technology and guest No. 12 Georgetown. The No. 5 Bulldogs made light work of the opposition, despite the near-freezing temperatures and challenging winds.
The third varsity eight kicked things off with an early lead — which the Bulldogs never relinquished — recording a 15.51-second win over second-place Georgetown.
The second varsity eights also jumped out to an early lead and crossed the line 18.52 seconds ahead of Georgetown and 31 seconds ahead of M.I.T. The defense of the Joy Cup was concluded with the first varsity eights. Another early Eli lead put the Engineers and Hoyas in a tough position for the remainder of the race. The Bulldogs crossed the line with day’s best time of 6:32.58 — ahead of Georgetown’s 6:40.02 and M.I.T’s 6:54.61.
After the title repeat, the lightweight crew now shifts its focus to next week’s Marcellus Hartley Dodge Cup against Columbia and Penn at Overpeck Park in New Jersey.
This weekend, No. 7 Yale women’s heavyweight crew journeyed to Lake Carnegie at Princeton, New Jersey, for the inaugural Ivy Invitational, consisting of No. 19 Dartmouth, Penn, Columbia and Cornell. The Bulldogs made light work of the morning races, as they cruised to victories in all five races against Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia.
“The team raced well from top to bottom today,” head coach Will Porter said. “Everyone pushed hard.”
The varsity eight won its race by a strong 9.4 seconds. The second varsity eight did even better, finishing first by 15.5 seconds. Continuing the dominance, the varsity four won by more than 15 seconds. The second varsity four and the third varsity eight also came in first, finishing in 7:57.8 and 7:28.1 respectively.
In the afternoon, the Elis thumped Columbia and Cornell for a second time in the day, winning all of the afternoon’s races. The varsity eight finished with a time of 6:42.0 — more than 12 seconds ahead of second-placed Columbia. The second varsity eight won with a time of 6:58.9. The varsity four won by more than 16 seconds. The second varsity four and third varsity eight also won convincingly.
After the race, Porter credited team captain Amy Warner ’18 for keeping the team focused, relaxed and excited to race throughout the early part of the season. Although Yale is off to a promising start, Porter said there is still room for improvement.
“There is plenty of work for us to get to full speed,” Porter said. “We need Mother Nature to cooperate and give us some sun and flat water which would help us stretch out and find a bit more flow to our work.”
The Bulldogs return to Lake Carnegie next weekend to face off against Princeton and Iowa next Saturday.
Bill Gallagher | email@example.com