Courtesy of RB Lawrence

On Saturday, the Yale rowing teams dominated their respective races, with the women bringing home the Cayuga Cup, the heavyweights keeping the Olympic Axe at Gilder Boathouse and three of the four lightweight boats coming in first over Georgetown University.

It was another impressive weekend for Yale crew as the teams gear up for the remainder of the season. The women’s team traveled to Saratoga, NY where it raced Syracuse, Bucknell, Wisconsin and Cornell. The men’s crew teams faced their opponents at Gilder, with heavyweights competing against Dartmouth and lightweights against Georgetown. 

“We had a good day of racing across the board,” women’s team head coach Will Porter said in a Yale Athletics press release. “We still haven’t found our top speed and racing lineups, but we learned a lot today and look forward to making some adjustments this week.”

In Saratoga, the No. 2 Bulldogs swept No. 14 Syracuse and Wisconsin in the morning and went on to win all five races against Cornell and Bucknell in the afternoon. Against Syracuse, the first and second varsity eights posted a seven-second and 10-second victory, respectively. The varsity four completed its race with equally impressive results, clocking in a nine-second victory over Syracuse. In the afternoon, the Bulldogs won all five races by more than 20 seconds.

Since their victories against Iowa and Michigan State earlier in the season, the women’s crew team is ranked second in the nation, but the team remains focused on medaling races.  

“As far as the rankings are concerned, it is nice for parents and friends to see that we are ranked second,” Margaret Hedeman ’23, a former sports editor for the News who rowed in the first varsity eight, said. “But the only ranking that actually produces gold medals is the final one at the NCAA as well as our [Ivy] Conference Championships. Until then, the ranking doesn’t mean anything to us, it is just noise. We are not too focused on that at all.”

At Gilder, the men’s heavyweight team won four of its five races to keep the Olympic Axe in Derby, Conn. The still water on the Housatonic River made for perfect racing conditions on Saturday. The home team was able to capitalize with commanding victories over Dartmouth.  

In the morning, the varsity eight won with a five-second victory, coming in at 5:12.0, and Dartmouth finishing at 5:17.4. The second, third and fifth varsity eights placed first with two-, seven- and nine-second victories, respectively. The fourth varsity eighth came second, five seconds after their opponent.

Several students and community members took the half-hour drive from the center of campus to cheer for their No. 1-ranked Elis.

“It is really nice to see the amount of supporters who made the effort to come out to Gilder,” Patrick Craig ’23, who rowed in the third varsity eight, said. “I have never seen it that busy even when we were rowing undisrupted by COVID-19 …  It was a huge buzz and it meant a lot to have all the friends out there and all the family.”

In May, the crew will compete at the Eastern Sprints, the annual rowing championship for the men’s Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges. Craig mentioned that for the past couple of races, the volume of practice has been tapering, but it will pick up in the coming weeks in preparation for the Sprints.

In its only home race of the season, the men’s lightweight team defeated Georgetown. The Bulldogs swept the Hoyas, coming ahead in all races. 

The first varsity crew squad defeated Georgetown with a nearly two-second victory, finishing at 5:27.8. The second varsity crew team won, coming in five-seconds before its opponent. For the third varsity fours, two Yale teams competed, placing in first and second place and finishing at 6:07.0 and 6:12.0. 

“It was a great weekend and very fun to be racing at home,” Geoff Skelly ’22 wrote in an email to the News. “Georgetown was very strong this year, but we were able to win all the races. We’re excited to keep moving forward and get ready for the Dodge Cup this weekend.”

Next weekend, the women will take to Gilder to host Princeton on Saturday. Both men’s teams will head south to Philadelphia where the heavyweights will take on Columbia and Penn in the Blackwell Cup while the lightweights will race Penn in the Dodge Cup. 

Nicole Rodriguez currently serves as a Science and Technology editor for the Yale Daily News. She previously covered the Astronomy Department, intramurals and Crew as a staff reporter. Originally from New York, she is a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin majoring in economics.