Women’s crew dominates

Last Saturday at the New England Rowing Championship, women’s crew brought home three gold medals and one silver. Together, the team won the women’s points trophy and the men’s and women’s combined team points trophy.

In the first varsity eight, Trinity edged the women by 0.28 seconds, giving Williams the silver medal and Bates the bronze. In the heats earlier in the day, the Ephs won in a time of 6:52.9. “While the result was 0.3 seconds shy of our goal, I could not have asked the women in that boat to represent Williams with a greater effort or more courage,” Head Coach Justin Moore said.

The second varsity eight won gold, defeating Trinity by almost nine seconds. The second varsity also won its earlier heat in 7:00.26. “We found a new level of synergy that helped bring our speed up [this week],” second varsity eight coxswain Nisi Zhang ’08 said. “We were all on the same page in knowing what we wanted and what we had to do.”

The women’s third varsity eight also won a gold medal by beating Holy Cross by almost seven seconds. Tufts finished third, 19 seconds behind Williams. There were only six third eights entered, so the women raced one grand final. The third eight’s victory played a crucial role in helping the team to win the trophy. “We knew the competition would be tough, even though we didn’t know who that would be,” third varsity eight coxswain Monsie Munoz ’09 said. “We only had a grand final so it was our one time to make the statement we wanted to make and to go for the gold. Every stroke of that race was full of heart, hard work and hunger.”

The novice eight brought home another gold medal in a 10.5 second victory over Simmons. Wellesley finished third, 18 seconds behind Williams.

The women were declared the winner of the women’s points trophy with a total of 93 points to Trinity’s 68. In addition, the Ephs won the team points trophy for the combined men’s and women’s team with 160 points to the Bantams’ 151.

This past week brought new obstacles to overcome. “This has been the ‘year of the challenge’ for our crew, and this past week was one of our most difficult,” Moore said. “Due to an injury, every boat had to be rebuilt. The women knew that there was no time for complaint.”

Next weekend, the women race at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Rowing Championship, also held on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. The team will shift from racing a third eight and a novice eight to a third eight and a fourth eight. At ECACs, the women will meet the New York rowing programs as well as the same New England programs they raced last weekend.

“Our goal, moving forward, is to utilize the talent and depth we have on our team to create training scenarios that will advance every member of our team,” Moore said. “It’s important that we do not get ahead of ourselves, and take each day as an opportunity to improve.”

Following ECACs, the women hope to be invited to the NCAA championships on May 30 through June 1 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. Last year, the first varsity eight finished first, and the women took home the title.