The three Yale crews returned to New Haven with a distinctly mixed bag of results. The heavyweight team captured three wins in three races in a dominating display against Columbia and Penn. The women’s team won four out of its five races, but the only defeat came from the first varsity eight in the event’s showpiece race, while the lightweight team slumped to a disappointing weekend after losing the top-two races and winning lower down the ladder.
The Yale heavyweight crew retained the Blackwell Cup for an eighth consecutive season as it raced to a second consecutive undefeated weekend. The Elis swept all three races against Columbia and Penn on the Hudson.
The varsity eight bested any opposition from the Lions and Quakers in powerful fashion. The Bulldogs crossed the finishing line with a time of 5:53.5, 13.9 seconds ahead of Columbia and 15.0 seconds ahead of Penn. The crew broke away from the other two boats within the first 1,000 meters and finished swathes apart from the chasing pack.
“They were very determined,” head coach Steve Gladstone said. “It’s good, when you race to your capability. That’s always good. To do it on a consistent basis is very satisfying.”
The Bulldogs’ performances in the other two races of the day were equally impressive. The second varsity eight beat second-placed Columbia by exactly fifteen seconds, finishing with a time of 6:00.7, and 20.5 seconds ahead of third-placed Penn. The third varsity eight beat second-placed Columbia by 22.7 seconds in a straight head-to-head race.
On a good day for racing, Gladstone also noted the significance of the crew’s promising record this season.
“To set out to race at capacity and to do it builds confidence,” Gladstone said. “That’s what we want building into the championship part of the season.”
The Elis travel to Ithaca next weekend to race against Cornell and Princeton for the Carnegie Cup.
The lightweight crew also traveled to Overpeck County Park in Leonia, New Jersey to race against Columbia and Penn for the Dodge Cup. The Bulldogs gave some spirited performances, but ultimately failed to retain the trophy that they had earned for the past four seasons. Columbia took home the cup for the first time since 2015.
The fourth and third varsity eights started the day off strong for the Bulldogs, winning both their races respectively ahead of Columbia. The fourth eight won by a time of almost ten seconds, while the third eight held off the rugged Lions boat to cross the finishing line with a victory margin of 3.4 seconds. The second eight ended up third in its race, just unable to find the energy to battle the boats ahead after the 1,000-meter mark. Columbia eventually finished first with a time of 5:50.3, Penn came in second with a time of 5:57.0 and Yale trailed behind, clocking in at 6:00.8. The first eight squandered an early lead as the Lions hunted them down and produced a superb last 500 meters to cross the line 8.8 seconds ahead of the second-placed Bulldogs.
“Columbia deserved to win,” head coach Andy Card said. “[We’re] never happy to lose a Cup, but sometimes it’s necessary to grow.”
The tough weekend comes off the back of an undefeated Joy Cup defense the previous week, where the Elis bested MIT and Georgetown with a string of convincing races.
Yale now turns its attention to next weekend’s Loyal Durand Cup regatta against Dartmouth in Hanover.
“Every week we’re trying to get faster, sometimes by keeping things the same, sometimes by adjustments,” Card said. “We try to treat the two imposters the same. Dartmouth is next up, another race on the road.”
The women’s team put on a convincing performance on Lake Carnegie, New Jersey as the Bulldogs bested Iowa and Princeton in four out the five races on the day.
In the lone defeat of the day, the first varsity eight came third in the Eisenberg Cup race. The Bulldogs came up 6.3 seconds short of winners Iowa and 3.6 seconds behind Princeton. Meanwhile, the first varsity four put on a show, winning by a pair of significant margins — 8.9 seconds ahead of the Tigers and 17.5 seconds ahead of the Hawkeyes. The second varsity eight worked a tight race to win by only 0.6 seconds ahead of Iowa. The third varsity eight comfortably won out by 14.1 seconds ahead of Princeton, while the second varsity four shaded Princeton by 0.7 seconds.
“Today we showed our strength as a team,” head coach Will Porter said. “Our lower boats raced very well. Our varsity eight rowed small and underperformed. We have to get a step faster in every crew and work on our first varsity big race performance.”
The Elis have been travelling on the road for the last month after starting the season with a weekend trip to Tennessee.
The crew is set to host its first home race of the season against the Radcliffe team from Harvard and Northeastern at the Gilder Boathouse on the Housatonic.
Bill Gallagher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, April 16: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that the lightweight crew team traveled to the Hudson for the Dodge Cup. The team, in fact, went to Overpeck County Park in Leonia, New Jersey.