Bantams, Engineers challenge men’s crew

Men’s crew raced to success on Saturday against Trinity, WPI and MIT, proving the team’s competitive edge against conference and non-conference foes. Not originally scheduled to race on Saturday, archrival Trinity tested Williams’ training and spirit after making a surprise request to participate.

At 10:40 a.m. the shells of Trinity, Williams, WPI and MIT lined up at the start. MIT was fastest off the line and dashed to a quick victory. In just over 5:50, the Div. I squad covered 2000 meters. WPI was quickly dispatched by both Williams and Trinity as the rival teams powered down the course.

 Williams led the race through the 1000 meter mark. The light chop and tailwind on Lake Quinsigamond afforded Williams four seats on the Trinity boat. However, in the last 1000 meters Trinity pulled ahead of Williams to win by a 1.3 second margin. Williams finished 3.5 seconds behind the winning MIT squad. MIT’s victory came off a bit hollow, considering that its athletes race in a different league, but the Engineers will not compete against the Ephs in any championship regatta.

 The first varsity boat was not specifically prepared for the Trinity match-up this early in the season, but Williams seized the opportunity. The teams last met at the Head of the Charles (HOCR) regatta in the fall, when the Ephs beat the Bantams by a similar margin, over 6000 meters. The first varsity squad made use of a new European model racing shell for the spring season. Empacher Boatworks, the maker of the model, supplies the vast majority of international and Olympic rowing shells.

 “We demonstrated that the speed we had at the HOCR was no fluke – we have the ability to win New Englands,” co-captain Rob Buesing ’09 said. “We just need to ensure that for the next three weeks, we maintain our focus and work hard to make up the gap.”

 Interim Head Coach Ben Lewis also felt encouraged by the results of his crew, especially compared to previous regattas. “We put some things right that were wrong last weekend,” Lewis said.

 The second varsity boat had a good showing, but lost to both Trinity and WPI by 11 seconds and two seconds, respectively. The second varsity remains in contention for a medal at New Englands. The team also took advantage of a new racing shell. The third varsity Ephs seemed poised to show similar speed and performance potential.

 All boats now look forward to this Saturday’s race against Wesleyan for the Little Three Championships on Williams’ own Lake Onota in Pittsfield.