Later this week, men’s crew will travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for its annual spring break training trip, in order to prepare for the challenges of the upcoming season. The Ephs hope that the two weeks of non-stop rowing and competition will allow them to return to Williamstown in prime condition to face their ECAC competitors.
This season, Williams will race some of the best crews in the country. “Since our freshmen year, we’ve seen the New England and ECAC leagues not only get faster, but deeper,” captain McLane Daniel ’08 said.
“Lots of teams we race have been ranked in the top 25 [in the country.]”
In their two end-of-the-fall events, the Head of the Charles and the Head of the Fish, the Ephs were disappointed when they did not earn the results they had hoped for. Out of almost 50 crews Williams placed 11th at the Head of the Charles. Hobart, Trinity and Wesleyan, three schools that Williams is usually very competitive with, gained 20 to 40 second leads seemingly out of nowhere.
While the Head of the Fish regatta did demonstrate the first-year potential of the team, the Ephs did not compete as well in that race as they would have liked. As a result, the men have adjusted their regular season schedule in order to seek out as much competition as possible. On March 15 the men will travel to the Clemson Sprints, bringing a deep team and entering rowers in as many races as possible.
Rather than returning to the Occoquan Sprints at the end of the break – a race the Williams varsity won in 2006 and 2007 – as they usually do, the entire Williams crew will travel to Philadelphia to race against more competitive programs like Temple and Lehigh in the Murphy Cup. While in Philadelphia, the men also hope to scrimmage against UPenn.
Aware of the challenges ahead of them this season, the Ephs have been united in focus all winter. “We do a lot of intra-squad competition in the winter,” Trevor Newman ’08 said. “And almost every time guys competed against each other, a new record was set. It really made the winter exciting.”
However, the crew wants speed across the board. After graduating only three seniors in 2007, and returning the entire varsity eight that raced to third place at last year’s New England Championships, improving on the margins isn’t the goal. A large and energetic first-year squad will be a constant source of competition for the varsity. At recent New England Championships, successful novice boats have been a predictor of programmatic success.
Additionally, last year’s successful novice boat has matriculated into the varsity, intensifying the competition within the men’s squad.