Men’s crew experiment with eights lineups

Men’s crew took first and second place in the men’s collegiate fours event at the Head of the Fish regatta last weekend in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. With last-minute lineup changes and a dense racing schedule, men’s crew suffered a slight hiccup in the other events following its phenomenal first place finish at the Head of the Charles the week before.

In the men’s collegiate eights event, the Ephs took fifth, 22 seconds off the winning Wesleyan crew. The second varsity had a solid row, finishing third in the collegiate second varsity eights event, only .8 seconds behind second-place Colgate, while the novice eight took seventh behind a slew of Cornell boats, a crew from Hobart and one from St. Lawrence. The novice four won its event easily, 25 seconds ahead of the next crew.

The top eight lost one rower to injury and one to conflicting event schedules. Dan Costanza ’11 was on antibiotics for an infected wound and could not row. Also, Alex Treco ’12 rowed, due in part to his eligibility, in the novice fours and varsity fours events and thus remains undefeated as an Eph. The team used the race as a chance to experiment with different lineups, leaving both the first and second varsity eights to race with previously untested lineups.

“Really, I think the goal was just to stir it up and try something completely new,” co-captain Rob Buesing ’09 said.

Buesing cited the physical toll of the fours race as a partial cause of the men’s lackluster performance in the eights event, as the men had only five minutes between the two races. In addition, he pointed toward the immense physical and mental toll taken by the Head of the Charles as a possible reason for the slow-down this weekend.

“But there is no doubt that it is definitely a wakeup call that we can’t get complacent after the victory last weekend,” Buesing said. “Crews like Trinity and Wesleyan are full of hardworking guys. They won’t just lay down and die. We’re going to have to work to beat them every single day because if we don’t, they will beat us in the spring.”

With Head of the Fish as the last fall regatta, the Ephs now look forward to the spring. The Ephs have grossly outperformed their fall results in the past several springs, and Buesing is confident that this trend will continue as long as the team maintains its intensity through the winter training season.

Interim Head Coach Ben Lewis agreed with the captain. “The winter has to be approached in the right way, and tackled with the same intensity we have developed in the last two months,” Lewis said.
The crew is largely unfazed by the weekend’s result, using the Head of the Fish primarily as a reminder of the precariousness of holding the top spot.

“Last week was what mattered to us and we got it right when we needed to,” Lewis said.