Will Porter

The No. 4 men’s lightweight and No. 9 women’s crew teams begin their fall regatta slates with a game against Dartmouth this weekend in celebration of a new wing of the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing Boathouse.

The Dartmouth Boat Club extended invitations to both Yale teams for this past weekend, alongside Boston University’s heavyweight crew. In a doubleheader race, the lightweights and women both dominated Dartmouth. The first and second eight-man boats for the Elis ended up ahead of the Big Green’s highest-placing crew, while the women finished in both first and second place in the pair of races against their Hanover counterparts.

“[Saturday’s] racing was a great opportunity to change things up a little bit in the early fall, nothing more really,” men’s lightweight crew head coach Andy Card said. “So we’ll carry on the next two weeks as usual, training hard and having fun.”

Y150 traveled to New Hanover, NH, for one of the earliest fall season starts in program history. The dedication event, however, differed from the traditional 2,000-meter race. First, both Yale and Dartmouth fielded A, B and C boats, with Yale adding its own D boat to the mix. These boats each competed in two races.

The first race was a 5,000-meter journey upstream. Yale’s A boat finished in first place, 13.8 seconds ahead of the Yale B boat, which snagged second. The Yale B boat was 2.4 seconds in front of the Dartmouth A boat. Following them were the Yale C, Dartmouth B, Yale D and Dartmouth C boats.

Having completed the first leg of an intense doubleheader, the boats shifted around and launched back another 5,000 meters — this time, they rowed downstream. Yet again, the Yale A and B squad finished in first and second place, respectively. The endurance differential between Yale and Dartmouth made itself apparent in the second half — Yale’s A and B teams were separated from each other by just 2.9 seconds, while Yale’s B held a 23.9-second margin over Dartmouth’s top finisher.

However, the surprise package was Dartmouth’s B unit, which wound up in third place. Yale C and D grabbed fourth and fifth. Dartmouth A and C took the sixth and seventh positions on the leaderboard.

“Right now, we are working on getting everyone on the same page technically, integrating the first years to the team, and working on our fitness on the ergometers,” Card said. “We know if we do those things, good things will happen this spring. The seniors are settling into their role as leaders, having seen three years of others leading the way. They are not done finding their own style.”

While men’s lightweight crew dominated, women’s crew was on its own way to putting up a solid performance. They posted the fastest times across the board, coming in first and second in both of their races. In these early weeks, women’s crew is prioritizing logging as many meters as possible to build up their fitness and integrate the 12 new first years onto the team.

Coming off of a strong season and a third-place finish in the 2019 Ivy League Women’s Rowing Championship, the Elis are again possible title contenders. The influx of new talent includes a winner of the J1x at the 2018 Henley Women’s Regatta, a member of Great Britain’s 2018 U19 squad and competitor at the Royal Henley Regatta, a spare for the 2018 USA U19 team, a 2018-2019 member of the Danish U23 crew and a 2018-2019 member of the Canadian U19 unit, among others.

“There is a good vibe of embracing the work and having fun,” head coach Will Porter said.

Ultimately, “our season goals are to win everything we compete in,” Porter added.

Men’s lightweight and women’s crews will next compete two weekends from now at the annual Head of the Housatonic in a home contest situated at Gilder Boathouse in Derby, CT.

Bentley Long | bentley.long@yale.edu

Alessa Kim-Panero | alessa.kim-panero@yale.edu