Women’s crew wins in bad weather

On Saturday, women’s crew won the Little Three title for the 10th year in a row on Onota Lake in Pittsfield. However, high winds and white caps delayed all racing and caused the cancellation of the novice eight and varsity four races. University of Vermont and Colgate replaced usual foe Little Three competitor Amherst.

In the first varsity race, the Ephs’ first boat won in a time of 7:17.2, with the second varsity finishing 11.2 seconds behind. Following 6.9 seconds behind the Williams’ second varsity was Colgate, who made its first appearance at the Little Three regatta. Wesleyan finished just two seconds behind Colgate, and Vermont finished 8.3 seconds behind Wesleyan.

The Williams first varsity took an early lead off the start and raced a solid first 500 meters, which gave the women open water on all the other first varsity boats. The Ephs were able to break contact with the Williams second varsity by the 1000 meter mark. The second 1000 meters proved much more challenging than the first since the lake widens and the cross-winds strengthened.

“In the challenging conditions, I think we raced a smart race,” said co-captain Katherine Robinson ’09, who stroked the first varsity. “Without compromising our aggression and race mentality, we were able to control … the way that we rowed.”

The second varsity team raced up, competing in the first varsity race. The boat battled with Colgate for most of the course but was able to finally break contact in the third 500 meter section to take second place.
“When I saw the five-boat lineup, I thought it was an exciting opportunity for great racing to take part at this regatta,” Head Coach Justin Moore said. “I was extremely proud to see both boats executing what we had practiced in training this week.”

Although racing was canceled after the first varsity race, the novice women’s crews unofficially raced the first 1000 meters, since they were already on the water and in the start area. The Williams women finished approximately three lengths ahead of Vermont.

“It was a good race in the bad weather,” said novice coxswain Fiona Wilkes ’12.

Next week the women will race at home on Onota Lake against Bates, Coast Guard, Ithaca and Marist. In this week’s Collegiate Rowing Coaches’ Association/US Rowing Div. III Varsity Eights poll, Williams was ranked first, while Bates is second and Ithaca is fourth.

“Bates has been an outstanding crew all spring, and I fully expect that Ithaca will be fast as well,” Moore said. “We have a lot of good crews [next week] to measure ourselves against. If we can continue to make one solid step a week, I think we’ll end up where we want to be.”