On a bright, brisk day in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. following a night of howling winds and pounding rain, women’s crew brought home medals in every event they entered at the annual Head of the Fish Regatta.
The first varsity boat won the women’s collegiate eight, in a time of 12:19.45. Smith and UMass-Amherst took second and third in 12:35.23 and 12:37.70, respectively. The women started off the race strong and were able to pass UMass in the first 1000 meters of the 3400 meter course.
For all crews, there was a significant headwind, which resulted in lower stroke ratings than anticipated. “It wasn’t our best race of the season,” Kat Conaway ’09 said. “It wasn’t exactly what we had in mind, but it was solid, and we handled the conditions well.”
Teammate and stroke Sam Smith ’09 agreed with these sentiments. “We had a very ambitious race plan, and we struggled to execute it,” she said.
The second varsity boat finished second in the collegiate JV eight to SUNY Buffalo in a time of 12:45.74, but ahead of UMass, who took third. The second varsity started first, so their primary motivation came from trying to put distance between them and UMass, who started second.
However, midway through the race, the boat caught up to and passed SUNY Geneseo, who was late to the start of the previous event, which provided an additional incentive.
“I thought we pulled it together fairly well,” Ellen Stuart ’11 said. “The rowing was not the worst rowing we’ve seen out of this boat, especially given a new line-up.”
In preparation for the Head of the Fish, the second varsity boat had significant line-up changes after the Head of the Charles in order to allow the majority of the freshmen to race together for the first time in novice boats.
“The Head of the Charles is always the peak of our fall season, and the purpose of the Head of the Fish is to give the novices a first racing experience and to show the depth of our program,” first varsity coxswain Becca Licht ’11 said.
The novice eight won in 12:48.13 over Cornell and UMass, finishing in second and third, respectively.
“As a coach it is exciting to see that our Ã¢â‚¬Ëœteaching’ has a huge impact on the team,” Head Coach Justin Moore said. “Five of the women in the first varsity eight at the Charles learned to row at Williams. This past weekend, at the Head of the Fish, we watched the Class of 2012 representing themselves very well in the Frosh/novice events. There is only one word to describe their effort: fast.”
Both the novices and varsity women also raced fours. The varsity women placed first, third and seventh in their fours, while the novices took first and second in their fours.
“The success of the fours shows the depth of our program,” coxswain Allison Prevatt ’09 said.
With this regatta, the team concludes its fall racing season and moves into winter training until the women are back in season in February.
“We have used the fall well, in terms of working on our rowing and racing,” Moore said. “If we can use the winter equally well, to develop physically and mentally, I believe we will be very hard to beat this spring.”