CREW: Heavyweight and lightweight teams start seasons with big victories
The Yale heavyweight crew team defeated Brown University and the University of Washington in its season opener, while the lightweight team defeated Navy.
The Yale men’s crew teams began their spring seasons in a familiar way, with both squads firmly solidifying their positions among the sport’s best.
The heavyweight team began their season on Saturday with an unusual road trip to Sarasota, Florida, to race in the Sunshine State Invitational against Brown University and the University of Washington.
“It was great to start off the season with a good result,” said Harry Geffen ’25, who stroked the top Yale boat. “We’re excited to see how the rest of the season will unfold.”
While dealing with a strong tail wind that required a cleaner technique, the Bulldogs came out on top in both the first and fourth varsity boats. The first boat won the Albert Cup by defeating Brown by almost more than six seconds with a time of 5:27.90.
This season will be especially important for head coach Steve Gladstone, as he announced late last year that the 2022-23 season would be his last before retiring.
Gladstone will leave his post as one of the most decorated collegiate rowing coaches of all time, having coached the most IRA Championship crews in history. He has also been largely credited with restoring the Yale heavyweight team to the top of the collegiate level, winning three national championships during his time in New Haven.
“Our team was very aggressive, which they had to be in those tail wind conditions,” Gladstone told Yale Athletics. “They were very poised, set into their base rhythm very well, and moved the boat. Overall, a great start to the season against really strong opponents. The first 1500 meters of the race was excellent. I was very happy to see our bow come across the finish line first.”
The goal for the team this year will be to add one more national championship to Gladstone’s total before he closes the book on his career.
While the heavyweight team enjoyed the sunshine and 80-degree weather in Sarasota, the lightweight team also began its season on Saturday on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, New Jersey.
In Princeton, the lightweight team faced off with the U.S. Naval Academy in five races, coming away with wins in all of them except for the 5V.
The varsity eight won the Eads Johnson Jr. Cup for the 11th year in a row, defeating the top Navy crew by just half a second in an exciting back-and-forth race.
“Just when you thought this regatta could not get more intense and exciting, it did,” head coach Andrew Card said to Yale Athletics. “At the end of the varsity race, we were fortunate to find ourselves on the right end of the result but only just.”
With the 2V, 3V and 4V all also winning their races, the Bulldogs were able to recapture the Jon Van Amringe Cup for winning the overall competition.
With a time of 5:35.5, the varsity lightweight boat was only 1.5 seconds short of beating the lightweight crew Lake Carnegie course record of 5:34.0.