Courtesy Of Ron Laurence

In front of a strong contingent of friends, family and alumni, the Yale women’s crew team hit the water for its first competitive race of the year, the Head of the Housatonic, and emerged with victory. The regatta was a strong start to the fall season, which builds up to the Head of the Charles.

All four Bulldog boats managed to finish in the top 11 crews, with the first and second eights finishing first and third, respectively. The varsity eight finished with a time of 14:45.9, nearly 14 seconds ahead of Brown’s varsity crew. The seconds came third with a time of 14:59.9, just over four seconds off the Bears’ first boat and nearly eight seconds ahead of their second boat. The Elis’ thirds came sixth on the day, sandwiched between Boston University’s team and the fourth boat from Brown. Yale’s fourth crew came 11th, narrowly ahead of Brown’s thirds.

“Winning is always important, as a Division I sport we train to win,” head coach Will Porter said. “If they are keeping score, we want to win. Some teams may get confused about the value of winning but not us.”

This year’s edition of the regatta represents an improvement from last season’s, where the four boats finished in the top 14. Yale’s first eight also defended its title with ease.

The Bulldogs are aiming for higher heights than last year’s disappointing bookend to a strong season. The Elis finished eighth in the National Championships in May after convincing showings in Ivy racing, where they beat rivals like Princeton and Harvard. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs last year, east coast dominance did not translate into success against the likes of west coast powerhouses California and Washington.

“Yeah, we have a lot of work to do this year, no doubt,” Porter said. “We do not have any time to waste. We have a lot to get done. This team is getting after it, I like the vibe right now.”

Seniors, quickly acclimating to their role as leaders of the team, are working hard to welcome the first years into the boathouse, who hail from places ranging from Colorado to the United Kingdom.

The crew is now gearing toward the most important race of the fall season, the Head of the Charles, on the banks of Boston. The varsity eight is looking to better its third-place collegiate finish and overall seventh place.

“It is always good to see other teams early in the season to gauge where we stand but we do not spend much time thinking about other teams, we are too busy thinking about YWC and finding our speed,” Porter said.

This weekend’s race on the Housatonic also saw the women’s crew join the men’s heavyweight and lightweight crews for the Yale Crew Homecoming at the Gilder Boathouse. All three head coaches spoke at the event, as they introduced their teams. New athletics director Vicky Chun also addressed the crews and alumni.

The Head of the Charles will take place on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Bill Gallagher  | william.gallagher@yale.edu