Tag Archive: W. Crew

  1. OLYMPICS | Ritzel ’10 wins gold, Brzozowicz ’04 takes silver in crew

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    ETON DORNEY, ENGLAND — American Taylor Ritzel ’10 and Canadian Ashley Brzozowicz ’04 won Yale’s first Olympic medals of the 2012 Games with a one-two finish in the women’s eight rowing final at Lake Dorney on Thursday.

    Ritzel and the favored American boat led the race from start to finish to defend their 2008 Olympic victory and take gold. It was no surprise when the six-time defending world champions were ahead by more than two seconds at the halfway mark and held the lead to finish in 6 minutes 10.59 seconds. Brzozowicz and the second-place Canadian boat finished in 6:12.06, while Australian Tess Gerrand ’10 took sixth.

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    “All of their success is a testament to the program, to the alumni, the department and the commitment by the University,” head women’s crew coach Will Porter said after watching coverage of the race. “Yale is a place of excellence and our athletic department is an extension of that. Their success is built on the shoulders of the people who came before them.”

    Ritzel said in a June interview with the News that the winning gold was a “personal mission” for her mother, Lana, who died of breast cancer just a week after Ritzel returned from winning the World Rowing Championships in Nov. 2010.

    After the race, teary-eyed Ritzel smiled as she showed her sister, former Yale rower McLane Ritzel ’14, the gold medal she had won for their mother, and hugged her father Tom Ritzel, who she calls her hero. Ritzel’s shoes were tied with the bright pink Laces for Lana from the fundraising campaign established by members of the Yale women’s crew team in honor of their teammates’ mother.

    “I am now so excited that I could give this to her,” Ritzel told England’s Guardian newspaper on Thursday. “When we race, there is a move that I do in my head for her. When I was walking through to the course today I saw the sun peek through the clouds. I know she is here and I dedicate to her what I have done.”

    The Canadian boat with Brzozowicz onboard was expected to challenge the Americans after recording a top time in Sunday’s heat and finishing just three-hundredths of a second behind Team USA at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne this May. But the Canadians could not muster enough for gold, finishing just over a second behind the Americans despite a late surge. Instead, they held off the third-place Dutch crew to take silver.

    The race was Brzozowicz’s second Olympic final. She and the Canadian crew finished less than a second away from taking bronze at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

    Brzozowicz said she was happy to share the Olympic experience with her husband — the first person she saw in the crowd after winning silver — as well as her father, her brother and her father-in-law.

    “We would have liked to win gold, but to be disappointed or dwell on winning silver is to not give the U.S. team the respect it deserves. We have no regrets,” Brzozowicz said on Friday. “We put ourselves out there, we fought hard and stayed together. We were really gunning for the U.S. and if we hadn’t gone for gold, we wouldn’t have ended up with silver.”

    The Australian crew with Gerrand was out of medal contention from the start and battled against boats from Romania and Great Britain for places four through six. The Australians slipped from fourth to fifth between the halfway point and 1500-meter mark. They went on to finish just over a second behind fourth-place Romania and nine hundredths of a second after the fifth-place British.

    For Gerrand, the sixth place finish was bittersweet because just a few months ago she and her teammates did not think they would have a chance to compete in the Olympics. The Australian women’s eight program was cancelled after its sixth place finish at the Beijing Games and was recommissioned just five weeks before the May Olympic qualification race in Lucerne, Switzerland.

    “It’s disappointing, but we put forth our best effort,” Gerrand said after the race Thursday. “When we look back on where we’ve been, we have to be proud. We’re ready to prepare for another four years.”

    Brzozowicz and Gerrand both emphasized their appreciation for the support from the Yale rowing community. Over 15 members of Yale crew programs traveled to the London Olympic Games and many more sent messages of support.

    At the Thursday race, Yale women’s crew team alumnae wore matching navy “For God, For Country and For Yale” tank tops that listed the names of the five Bulldogs rowers — including Americans Charlie Cole ’07 and spare Jamie Redman ’08 in addition to the three women who raced in the women’s eight — representing their country on the back. The women said the Olympic Games were a perfect time for a team reunion.

    “We always kind of knew they were good enough to be here,” Lee Glandorf ’10 said. She referenced a 2009 picture taken by fellow Games attendee Alice Henly ’10 that shows Yale women’s crew team members standing on the dock at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre at sunset while in England for the Henley Royal Regatta.

    Glandorf said she remembers Ritzel and Gerrand discussing their goal of returning to the venue to compete at the Games.

    “We knew we would be back,” Glandorf said with a smile.

    At Yale, Brzozowicz finished second at the NCAA Championship in 2004. Ritzel and Gerrand won the NCAA Championship with Redman in 2008, and went on to win NCAA titles in 2009 and 2010.

    Rower Anne Warner ’77 was Yale’s first alumna to win an Olympic medal when her American crew took bronze in the women’s eight at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada. Ritzel is the first rower from the Yale women’s crew program to win gold.

  2. W. CREW | Bulldogs take back Case Cup

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    Yale women’s crew had a strong showing against archrival Radcliffe on Saturday on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn.

    The No. 15 Bulldogs took four out of five matchups and captured the Case Cup by defeating No. 12 Radcliffe in the varsity eight race.

    “I thought we raced really well as a team,” head coach Will Porter said. “It was our most complete effort of the year, as far as being aggressive and rowing well as crews and really representing Yale women’s rowing for what it is.”

    In the varsity eight race, Yale gained an advantage off the start, and by the 1,000-meter mark, the Elis were more than a full boat length ahead of their rivals. The Bulldogs crossed the line at 6:46.0, more than seven seconds ahead of Radcliffe, to take back the Case Cup after Harvard claimed the prize last year.

    “I thought they rowed their best race of the year to date,” Porter said. “They raced with a high level of trust and performed well.”

    The second varsity eight turned out to be the closest race of the day. The Bulldogs opened up an early lead, but Radcliffe surged to pull even with Yale midway through the race, and then built a slight advantage of its own. Though the Bulldogs fought back over the last 500 meters, Radcliffe edged the Bulldogs by 1.3 seconds to capture the race.

    “We had a close, hard-fought race that we learned a lot from,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said of the event.

    The varsity four race was also fiercely contested. Though Radcliffe had built a two-seat lead by the 1,000-meter mark, the Elis used a higher stroke rate over the last 500 meters of the race to come from behind and earn a victory. The Bulldogs clocked in at 7:34.8, finishing 1.3 seconds ahead of Radcliffe.

    Yale’s second varsity four enjoyed a ten-second margin of victory over Harvard’s B and C boats, while Yale’s third varsity eight bested its Radcliffe counterpart by a little over six seconds.

    Though the Bulldogs had struggled in recent weeks to keep up with their competition, Porter said the team had simply taken longer to develop its peak speed than its opponents, many of which were nationally ranked teams.

    “The thing about a racing sport is getting to your top end speed at the right time of the year,” Porter said. “Our schedule was very challenging early this year, and we just weren’t up to speed as quickly as the other teams were. We seem to have found another gear in these last couple weeks, and we’re as fast as many other crews in our league, which is great. We’re gaining speed at the correct time.”

    The Bulldogs return to action this Saturday when they battle Brown for the Nat & Anne Case Cup in Providence, R.I.

  3. W. CREW | Bulldogs denied Eisenberg Cup

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    For the third consecutive week, No. 17 women’s crew tested itself against two nationally ranked teams. On Saturday, the Bulldogs took on No. 5 Princeton and No. 7 Souther California on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J.

    Though the Elis fell in four out of five races, head coach Will Porter said he saw overall improvement in the team this weekend.

    “I thought we took a step forward as a group,” Porter said. “Our schedule has to be one of the toughest in the country, which means winning races is difficult, but we do seem to be gaining speed at the right time.”

    USC’s No. 1 ranked varsity eight won the marquee event by cruising past both Princeton and Yale. The Trojans gained an advantage off the start and did not relinquish it for the remainder of the race. USC crossed the line at 6:24.6, while Princeton took second with a time of 6:27.0. The Bulldogs clocked in at 6:30.2 for a third place finish. By placing ahead of the Elis, Princeton captured the Eisenberg Cup for the third consecutive year.

    “There were times when we were matching their speed or even closing in on [USC and Princeton],” Porter said. “Ultimately, they ended up pushing out at the end.”

    The Trojans also secured a victory in the second varsity eight race, though by a significantly smaller margin. USC narrowly beat Princeton by 0.3 seconds to clinch first-place with a time of 6:40.3. The Elis clocked in at 6:44.7 to take third.

    Captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12, who rowed with the second varsity eight, said that the race was interrupted due to a breakage in the Princeton boat and had to be restarted after a long wait on the water.

    “I think we handled the challenge well, and put together a solid piece,” O’Keefe said.

    In the third varsity eight race, the Tigers bested the Elis by more than 19 seconds to earn the win.

    Yale’s strongest showings from the weekend came from its fours. The Bulldogs’ second varsity four gave the team its lone win by crushing Princeton by nearly 20 seconds. The Elis crossed the line at 7:38.2, while the Tigers finished in 7:59.5.

    The Bulldogs’ varsity four also performed well and secured a second-place finish. Princeton captured the race by crossing the line at 7:26.5. Yale took second by clocking in at 7:28.8, finishing two seconds ahead of USC.

    “I thought our [varsity] four raced a very composed race,” Porter said. “The second varsity was very gutsy. [They] rowed very hard.”

    The Bulldogs return to action when they race archival Radcliffe for the Case Cup this Saturday at home.

  4. W. CREW | Home races produce mixed results

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    On Saturday, No. 13 Yale women’s crew hosted No. 19 Dartmouth, Boston University and No. 16 Cornell for its first home races of the spring season on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn.

    Though Yale’s varsity eight fell in both its races, the second varsity eight, second varsity four and third varsity eight boats each earned two victories. The varsity four split its two races, defeating BU and Dartmouth in the morning before being edged by Cornell in the afternoon.

    “I think many of our boats had solid performances,” Cathy McDermott ’12 said.

    The Bulldogs started the day by facing off against Dartmouth and Boston University and notched victories in four out of five races.

    The closest race of the day came in the varsity eight race. Yale and Dartmouth both clocked in at 6:22.8, while BU finished in 6:28.0. Because the race was too close to call, the officials had to use a video review to determine the winner. After reviewing the tape, the referees awarded the race and the Class of 1985 Cup to the Big Green. It was the first time Dartmouth had won the Cup since 1998.

    “We had to look at the tape multiple times,” head coach Will Porter said. “It was very difficult to determine the winner of that race. I think it was fair. It was a matter of inches, but based on our limited technology at the boathouse, I think the right call was made.”

    In the second varsity eight race, the Elis took first place by crossing the line at 6:25.5, while Dartmouth and BU finished at 6:31.4 and 6:42.3, respectively.

    Yale’s varsity four, second varsity four and third varsity eight boats all put on dominant performances and captured their races by more than ten seconds.

    “As a team we raced well,” Porter said. “Beating Dartmouth and Boston University in four out of the five races was a good performance for us.”

    Though windy conditions delayed racing against Cornell for about two hours, the Elis took to the water for a second time to face the Big Red in the afternoon. In the varsity eight race, the Big Red edged Yale by nearly three seconds to take the Cayuga Cup for the second consecutive year.

    “The outcomes of our races were disappointing but provided feedback on areas we need to work on moving forward,” said captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12, who raced in the varsity eight.

    Cornell’s varsity four also bested the Elis by a six-second margin to take the race and earn another win for the Big Red.

    Still, Yale’s second varsity eight notched its second win of the day by finishing 0.3 seconds ahead of the Big Red. The Elis also defeated Cornell in the second varsity four and third varsity eight races. Yale’s second varsity four enjoyed a nearly 17-second margin of victory, while the third varsity eight finished 0.6 seconds ahead of Cornell.

    “I thought we raced well in our lower boats,” Porter said. “Our varsity is still working to put together a full race.”

    The Bulldogs will battle for the Eisenberg Cup this Saturday when they travel to New Jersey to face Princeton and the University of Southern California.

  5. W. CREW | Michigan, Ohio State outrace Elis

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    On Saturday, Yale women’s crew faced off against two other top 10 teams in the nation but struggled to keep up with the competition. The No. 9 Elis were edged by both No. 3 University of Michigan and No. 10 Ohio State on the Scioto River at Griggs Reservoir in Columbus, Ohio.

    The Buckeyes took all five races against the Bulldogs, while the Wolverines captured four out of five races in the second matchup. The Elis’ lone win came in the varsity four race against Michigan.

    They were the first losses for the Yale team this spring, as the team had opened the season by sweeping Ivy League rivals Columbia and Penn last weekend.

    “This weekend we had the worst losses our program has had since 2006,” head coach Will Porter said. “I think as a program we have a big challenge before us to see if we can pull things together and find a combination that works moving forward.”

    Because the competition was structured as a double dual meet, each crew raced twice, first against Ohio State and then against Michigan. Porter said the format is much more common on the West Coast and in the Midwest than in the Northeast but added that the structure did not change the way boats approached races.

    The Buckeyes were not unfamiliar foes for the Bulldogs, as Ohio State traveled to the Gilder Boathouse to take on the Elis last year. Though the Elis finished ahead of three out of four of Ohio State’s boats in last season’s matchup, this year the Buckeyes swept the Bulldogs.

    In the first race of the day, Ohio State’s varsity eight took an early lead over the Elis and never relinquished it. The Buckeyes crossed the line at 6:23.66, besting Yale, which finished in 6:32.38.

    The second varsity eight race followed a similar script with the Buckeyes opening up an early lead that held up for the entire race. Ohio State’s boat finished in 6:25.25, while Yale clocked in at 6:34.66.

    “We are disappointed with our performance and did not rise to the challenge,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said. “Across the board, our boats were unhappy with our results.”

    The Buckeyes’ varsity four also glided into the win column with a 7:11.43 mark, finishing nearly six seconds ahead of the Bulldogs.

    Ohio State completed the sweep of Yale by capturing the second varsity four and the novice eight races.

    The Elis took to the water to face Michigan in the second session, falling in all but one race.

    The lone bright spot of the day came from Yale’s varsity four, who crossed the line at 7:20.10, which was more than four seconds ahead of Michigan.

    “They started off behind, and they were just very determined to get ahead,” Porter said. “They raced until they got their nose out in front. They did a great job showing their competitive spirit.”

    In the varsity eight race, the Wolverines bested the Bulldogs 6:16.70 to 6:28.92. Similarly, Michigan’s second varsity eight rowed to an eight second victory by clocking in at 6:25.62.

    Yale’s second varsity four and novice eight also suffered defeats at the hands of the Wolverines.

    Despite the losses, O’Keefe and Porter both said racing against two nationally ranked teams was beneficial because it allowed the team to see how much improvement is necessary in the coming weeks.

    “I think Michigan is the standard right now,” Porter said. “If they’re not the fastest crew in the country, they are in the top three, and that’s how much work we have to do as a team. It’s doable, but we’ve got to find a combination that works. We’re not there yet.”

    The Bulldogs return to action this weekend when they host Cornell and Dartmouth at the Gilder Boathouse in Derby, Conn., on Saturday.

  6. LIGHTWEIGHT CREW | Bulldogs launch season

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    On the heels of the heavyweight crew team’s sweeping home victory against Brown last weekend, the lightweight crew team will open its spring season this Saturday against Navy in Princeton, N.J.

    The Bulldogs will take on the Midshipmen in four races — the varsity eight, junior varsity eight, second junior varsity eight, and freshmen eight — on Lake Carnegie, fighting to take home the ninth annual Johnson Cup. Saturday’s race will present the Blue and White with two challenges, head coach Andy Card said.

    “[First,] Navy is always a deep and fast team, and second, it’s our first race of the spring,” Card said. “Your first race is, well, your first race, and we have many new guys on the team — new guys in the freshman eight by definition, sophomores new to varsity competition, and new guys in the varsity boat. Everyone is racing up.”

    Card added that many talented seniors, including five in the varsity eight, graduated last year, so the top 16 slots must be filled.

    But even with the new roster, the team hopes to keep one thing the same from last year. The Bulldogs are defending their No. 1 ranking in the nation after the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship last June. The 2011 season was the first time since 2005 that Yale finishedvarsity race. Last weekend, the Midshipmen lost to Princeton by 5.3 seconds in the varsity race.

  7. W. CREW | Elis sweep Columbia and Penn

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    Yale women’s crew came out strong in its spring season-opener with a sweep of Columbia and Penn this weekend.

    The Bulldogs’ five boats all earned victories in the Connell Cup, a 2000-meter race on the Orchard Beach Lagoon in New York. The Elis also won the Cup last year.

    “The team performed well, and the races provided all boats with a starting point for the spring,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said. “The races gave us an opportunity to find where we will need to improve throughout the season.”

    Yale’s varsity eight, the members of the fastest boat, finished the race with a time of 6:31.0, two seconds ahead of Columbia and three seconds ahead of Penn.

    The second varsity eight cruised to victory with a time of 6:40.9, which was almost six seconds ahead of the second-place Columbia boat.

    “I thought we raced well and raced to our abilities for this time of year,” head coach Will Porter said.

    In the varsity four race, the Elis also defeated their opponents by a six-second margin with a final time of 7:29.4.

    Yale’s third varsity eight and second varsity four both had dominant races and clocked in 17.5 seconds and 15.8 seconds ahead of Penn, respectively.

    Porter said he was especially pleased with the performances of the freshmen on the team.

    “I think our novices did a nice job for their first race,” he said. “All five of our crews had at least one freshman in them, so it was nice to see the freshmen perform well in their first race for Yale.”

    The Bulldogs had to overcome challenging conditions on the water. Porter said the race was held in tidal water, water that moves differently in each lane. Boats also had to combat side wind through the first 100 meters of the race.

    Despite the team’s success at this race, Porter said the team still needs to improve its speed.

    “I think as a team we’ve worked really hard through the winter, and we’re fit, we’re strong, but we’re not going fast yet,” he said. “We have a long way to go. We are just getting started.”

    The Elis return to action this weekend when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on Ohio State and Michigan.

  8. W. CREW | Elis battle for Connell Cup

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    After a long winter, women’s crew opens its competitive spring season this weekend against Ivy League rivals Columbia and Penn in New York.

    The Bulldogs, who will be competing for the first time since last October, are looking to repeat last season’s first-place finish and recapture the Connell Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the race.

    “We’ve worked hard indoors since the conclusion of our fall racing season and are excited to start spring racing,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said.

    The Elis enjoyed a series of strong performances during their unofficial season in the fall. Yale opened the season with a first-place finish at the Head of the Housatonic and followed by placing fourth at the Head of the Charles and third at the Princeton Chase.

    “We had a quietly good fall,” head coach Will Porter said. “I think we were sort of establishing a work ethic for this year, and I thought they did well.”

    The Elis compete in head races during the fall, which are three-mile competitions where crews follow a single file format and row against the clock. But during the spring, crews compete in sprint races, which are 2,000 meter competitions where crews row side by side for the entire race. The spring is crew’s official competitive season, since those results determine eligibility for the NCAA Championships held in late May.

    The Bulldogs will look to earn a berth at the NCAA Championship for the eleventh consecutive year. Yale finished in eleventh place last season at the championships.

    To prepare for the spring season, the team spent the winter logging long hours in the gym working on fitness in order to improve team speed.

    Though the Bulldogs were recently ranked seventh in the nation in a CRCA/US Rowing preseason poll, Porter said he does not “have much faith” in preseason polls because they are not based on any competition.

    “It’s an honor for us to be in the top ten nationally,” Porter said. “We’ll see how things play out over the next ten weeks… The only poll that really matters is the last one like every other sport.”

    The Elis have a challenging spring schedule ahead of them that will pit them against eight crews that also earned national rankings in the CRCA/US Rowing preseason poll.

    “It is important to get highly competitive racing experience during the season so that every boat is comfortable with intense, physical racing,” Cathy McDermott ’12 said.

    Saturday’s battle for the Connell Cup is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m. The varsity eights are scheduled to row at 1:30 p.m.

  9. CREW | Bulldogs compete in final fall regatta

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    On the heels of Saturday’s unexpected snowstorm, the Yale men’s lightweight and women’s crew teams concluded their fall seasons this past Sunday at the Princeton Three-Mile Chase.

    Boats from both teams finished in the top five at the invitational race hosted on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J. In the final regatta of the season the Bulldog men took fourth place in the varsity eights event, finishing in 13:32.2 and beating out Ivy foes from Cornell, Columbia, Penn and Dartmouth. Harvard won the race in 13:15.4. Coach Andy Card went into the race wanting to improve on the team’s race the week before at the Head of the Charles, and while he said the team did improve, there is still much to work on over the winter.

    “Some things we did better, some things were left on the table,” Card said in an email to the News. “I know our captain Dave Walker ’12was a bit displeased with his boat’s first half of the race. Still, we are following our own timetable as we always do, and we won’t be rushed.”

    Yale’s ‘B’ crew also left a strong impression on the 27 crew field. As the first ‘B’ crew to cross the line, it finished eighth in 13:44.6 and beat out the ‘A’ crews from Penn, Dartmouth and Delaware. Many Yale rowers also raced a second time in a fours or pairs event. Yale took eighth in the fours event and second in the pairs event.

    Walker commended the freshmen eight for the fourth place finish in the freshmen race.

    “All in all, I’m very happy with how the younger levels of the team performed and are stepping up to the level of the older guys,” Walker said.

    The women’s crew team also raced its final regatta, finishing off its fall season with solid performances.

    Entering the race, the Bulldogs looked to build off the team’s success this fall.

    The varsity eight took third place in the 49 boat field with a time of 14:53.50, finishing behind the crews from Virginia and Princeton while beating out Ivy foes from Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Brown and Columbia. The women’s novice boat took 14th in the novice open 8+ final with a time of 18:15.91.

    For both crew teams, the fall season has provided an opportunity to see individual and team strengths and weaknesses.

    The season also gave the Bulldogs insightinto how they compare to their Ivy League and national competition.

    Women’s crew captain Kathleen O’Keefe said the Princeton Chase showed the team where it stands in the spring racing field.

    Walker added, “The main goal of the fall season is really team development. The fall was very successful in that we exposed a lot of things we need to work on and will go in to the winter with an

    understanding of what we need to do to get ready for the spring.”

    With the conclusion of the fall season, the teams now head indoors for intense winter training in preparation for the championship spring season. Both teams will use the winter to build on their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses in order to lay the foundation for a successful spring season.

    O’Keefe said the women’s team will have to work hard to be competitive in the spring.

    Card added that the lightweight crew team’s fundamentals are solid, but the team is looking to move to the next level over the winter.

    “There are just so many things that are different between the fall 5ks and the spring 2ks that you cannot conflate the two,” he said. “So we know a little more now than we did on Saturday, but we don’t know how things will play out in the spring.”

    The men’s lightweight team looks to repeat its2011 National Championship season while the women’s team aims to improve upon its 11th place finish at the 2011 NCAA

    Championships. The women’s crew and the lightweight men’s crew will be back on the water at the Connell Cup in New York, New York on Mar. 24.

  10. CREW | Women’s and lightweight crew score top finishes

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    The Bulldogs had a strong showing in Cambridge, Mass. this past weekend at the world’s largest two-day rowing race, the Head of the Charles Regatta. Boats from the women’s crew and men’s lightweight crew teams notched up several top-five finishes.

    Although the heavyweight crew team did not fare quite so well — its championship four and eight settled for 11th and 17th places, respectively ­— Yale’s other two crew teams tasted success as their boats glided through the three-mile Charles River course. Still, two head coaches and several rowers said the weekend’s racing does not necessarily predict future success in the more competitive spring season.

    “I thought both [lightweight four] crews had good rows — not perfect by any stretch,” lightweight crew head coach Andy Card said. “Certainly there are things that can be improved, but these will come with time. We only just started rowing a month ago, after all.”

    His two championship four boats beat out all the other collegiate crew teams in their division, finishing second and third behind the New York Athletic Club Pan-Am Games boat by 32 and 72 seconds, respectively. With the result, Yale lightweight crew has topped the pack of collegiate championship four boats for seven straight years. The team’s championship eight boat, meanwhile, closed in fifth place.

    The women’s crew squad saw similarly strong performances; its championship eight boat took home a fourth-place finish on Sunday, while its club eight boat slotted in second on Saturday.

    “The Head of the Charles is always a hectic race, but all three boats raced well and did a good job of focusing internally,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said. “The race also showed us areas where the team needs to improve in order to be highly competitive this spring.”

    Head coach William Porter said the team’s championship eight boat could have gone faster had Brown’s slower boat not blocked it for the first mile and a half of the race. Race rules state that slower crews should yield to faster crews passing them, he explained.

    Indeed, the Head of the Charles “head-race” format, in which boats race single file, starting seconds after each other, and the winner is the boat with the quickest final time, means the competition is not indicative of how teams are shaping up for the spring racing season, heavyweight crew head coach Steve Gladstone said.

    Where a boat starts in the race makes a “big difference” because later boats usually experience choppier water, he explained. Nevertheless, he said he was “absolutely not satisfied” with the results his boats achieved in the championship races.

    “We had a solid showing at the Charles,” captain Tom Dethlefs ’12 added. “We’ve got a small team with a lot of young talent so it was good to give them an opportunity to race at the most attended regatta in the world.”

    Dethlefs said the weekend’s results do not indicate how competitive the spring season will be, except that there will be tight competition throughout the field. Before spring racing kicks off with a March 24 race against Brown, the team will work on its fitness and go on a seven-day training camp in Florida starting Dec. 28, Gladstone said.

    “People try to parse the results from the fall, but you just can’t do that,” Card said, explaining that in lightweight crew competition there is no weigh-in during the fall season that is similar to the spring weigh-in.

    In women’s crew, however, fall results can be a good indicator of spring results, Porter said. The fall allows the team to observe the competition and train through the winter to close the gap on or stay ahead of competition.

    The lightweight crew and women’s crew teams will take to the water one final time before winter break, at the Oct. 30 Princeton Chase in Princeton, N.J.

  11. W. CREW | Elis sweep Housatonic

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    Yale women’s crew made a successful season debut Saturday, posting dominant results at the Head of the Housatonic Regatta in Shelton, Conn. Eli rowers won every event they entered.

    “I’m definitely happy,” head coach Will Porter said. “We won the varsity eight, we won the four, the pair and our novice eight won. And every kid was able to race as well. I was very pleased with the way we started.”

    The easiest task for Yale was the women’s pair, an event that featured only Yale rowers. The fastest pair, Kristi Wagner ’15 and Maddie Lips ’14 clocked in at 20:31.2 on the 2.7-mile course at Indian Well State Park. A second Yale duo also broke the 21-minute mark at 20:57.1.

    Eliza Hastings ’13, Georgia Separovich ’12, Kathleen O’Keefe ’12, Nina Demmerle ’15 and coxswain Christine Devlin ’15 pulled to a commanding win in the women’s collegiate four with coxswain with a time of 17:455.4. Three Radcliffe boats trailed, with the second-place finisher 18 seconds behind the Yale vessel. Yale also took fifth and sixth places in the four-plus at 18:46.0 and 18:47.7. Fifteen boats from seven schools raced.

    Yale found victory again in the women’s collegiate novice eight plus coxswain in the closest race of the day for the Blue and White. The winning boat nudged second-place University of Massachusetts by barely a second, 18:32.2 to 18:33.6. Fordham was a distant third in the six-boat competition.

    Natalie King ’13 saw the opener as a both successful and useful regatta for Yale.

    “As a team we raced well, but this regatta also gave us a chance to learn what we need to work on,” she said, adding that the short fall season will give the Bulldog crew “competitive opportunities to further test our team speed.”

    In the women’s collegiate eight plus coxswain, Yale crossed first again and took three of the top seven spots in a field featuring 16 boats from eight colleges. Yale’s first-place time was 15:45.3, giving the Eli crew a lopsided margin of more than 25 seconds over second-place Radcliffe.

    “The thing I’m excited about is that almost every kid on the team was able to race twice,” Porter said. “We haven’t done that in five or six years. It’s sort of getting back to basics for us.”

    Yale also claimed the top prize in master/open eight with coxswain, posting an unadjusted 17:16.2 in an age-handicapped race with 13 boats on the water. Yale and Central Connecticut Rowing were the only two crews racing without a handicap advantage.

    Head of the Housatonic, the traditional opening of the abbreviated fall season, is the first of three fall competitions for Yale. Next up is Harvard’s Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Mass. Oct. 22-23, with the Princeton Chase completing the fall series on Oct. 30.

    Hastings said she liked how the new Yale recruits responded to their first collegiate test.

    “The Head of the Housatonic is always exciting because our freshmen get to wear the Yale uniform for the first time and compete with the team,” Hastings said. “It was a day full of racing and tough competition, so it was rewarding to come away with a victory.”

    Porter said the Head of the Housatonic is a great chance to square off against Harvard early in the season. He added that some teams take the fall season more seriously than others.

    “For us, every time we put on a Yale uniform, we want to win,” Porter said.