This weekend, Yale’s crew teams domineered over their opponents, as the men’s No. 1 heavyweight and No. 4 lightweight squads began their spring seasons with resounding wins in cup races against No. 4 Brown and No. 5 Navy. Meanwhile, the No. 5 women’s team bulldozed some of its adversaries, clinching wins over No. 18 Indiana and Michigan State, but the squad fell short in all but the third varsity eight race against No. 9 Michigan in the Ivy-Big Ten Double Dual.
Yale women’s crew obliterated Michigan State and Indiana on Friday, followed by a rather surprising series of losses against Michigan. Michigan, while a top-10 squad, has surpassed expectations thus far this season, as the Wolverines also toppled No. 3 Harvard in all races on Friday. Meanwhile the heavyweight blues battled with the Bears on the Seekonk River in Providence, eventually emerging victorious by massive margins in each race despite poor weather. The lightweight men fared similarly, as they gathered a total victory over opponent Navy in the neutral waters of the Mercer Lake course in Princeton, New Jersey.
“On the physiological continuum, the peak of rowing comes at the end,” heavyweight crew head coach Steve Gladstone said. “We’ve been successful at that part for a while now.”
Men’s lightweight crew put on a strong performance this past weekend despite a strong variable crosswind, which was particularly nasty in the first 500 meters. The blues defended the Eads Johnson Cup for the eighth consecutive time against Navy in an unprecedented stretch of success for the team. The closest margin of victory for the Bulldogs was 2.7 seconds, held by the first varsity eight. The rest of the team also recorded victories against Navy, and Yale posted a clean sweep and a 4–0 record on the day. By winning all races and accumulating the most points, the Elis garnered the first-ever Jon Van Amringe Trophy for team points.
Women’s crew began its Big Ten battles on Friday on Belleville Lake. The blues first took on Michigan State and Indiana, and Yale proceeded to put on a magnificent display. The closest margin of victory was a two and a half second lead by the varsity second eight, but in the end Yale showed its superiority across the board. While Michigan State and Indiana were somewhat able to keep up with the first and second varsity eight, Yale’s depth shone on in the success of its third varsity eight and second varsity four units, who decimated their Big Ten counterparts.
“We expect the challenge of finding our speed against a top ranked opponent to be significant,” Yale women’s crew head coach Will Porter said before the regatta. “We look forward to it.”
The successes of the first day would not linger. On Saturday, women’s crew grappled with Michigan in a hard-fought series of battles on Belleville. Both teams had to overcome a particularly vicious variable cross-wind, but Michigan appeared better suited to the disadvantageous conditions, as the Wolverines pounced on their chance to topple yet another higher ranked foe. Michigan ended up claiming victory in four of the five races on the day, but the Elis were able to snag a victory thanks to the third varsity eight unit. The first varsity eight lost in a nailbiter with Michigan clinching a victory by a measly margin of just .77 seconds. Nevertheless, the weekend can primarily be considered a success for an exceedingly young Yale squad.
Back in Rhode Island the heavyweights dominated the northeast. The blues claimed victory over Brown in all four matchups, despite the Bears having the advantage of home water alongside tremendously adverse weather. The Bulldogs persevered through a strong headwind and heavy chop to come out on top; overall, the Elis posted a whopping 14.1 second average margin of victory. The closest matchup was the pair of third varsity eights where Yale posted a solid 6.6 second lead over Brown. The blues were so strong that the fifth varsity eight squad was able to overcome Brown’s fourth varsity eight by 9.3 seconds. But Yale’s mastery was expected as the heavyweights have not lost a single cup race over the last five years.
Overall, it was a successful weekend for Yale crew, as the teams cumulatively won 14 out of 18 races.
Next weekend, the lightweight squad takes on Georgetown in its first of two home races of the season, while the heavyweights head out west to partake in the San Diego Crew Classic in a two-day venture and the women’s crew squad competes in the second annual Ivy League Invitational.
Bentley Long | firstname.lastname@example.org