On Saturday, the women dominated in their last home regatta of the season against Bates, Coast Guard, Ithaca and Marist. They won every event in which they entered a boat – the first, second and third varsity eights as well as the first varsity four.
In the first varsity eight race, Williams was eager to line up against Bates, who had beaten Trinity last week, and Ithaca, who has also been strong this season. The Ephs took an early four-seat lead through the first 500 meters of the race, and then took a huge move and stretched out their lead to bow-on-stern at the 600 meter mark.
The women maintained their lead through the sprint and finished 3.4 seconds ahead of Bates in a time of 6:54.6, a new course record. Ithaca, Marist and Coast Guard followed with respective times of 7:03.1, 7:16.1 and 7:28.1.
The second varsity squad also took an early lead on Bates, making moves the whole way down the racecourse before finally breaking contact with 700 meters left. Williams finished 8.6 seconds ahead of Bates. Ithaca and Marist rounded out the field by finishing in 7:23.4 and 7:45.2, respectively.
“This was the week that our second varsity struggled the most,” said Head Coach Justin Moore. “We reconfigured the lineup on Friday. What was evident was the character of these women – if you’re tough as nails and you pull really hard, you’re going to succeed.”
This week, the novice eight raced as a third varsity team so as to meet greater competition. After pulling away from Bates off the start, the women eventually broke contact with Ithaca at the 1000 meter mark to win by 19.2 seconds over Ithaca and 67.4 seconds over Bates.“We had some extra pressure knowing that we would be racing as a third varsity this week,” said coxswain Fiona Wilkes ’12.
Williams took first and second in the first varsity four race with times of 8:11.8 and 8:28.2. Marist finished in 8:47.5, and Coast Guard crossed the line in 8:53.2. Both of the Williams fours took early leads on the rest of the field, and the first four was able to break contact with the second four after 1000 meters. In order to gain the best racing experience, the rowers of the third varsity eight also raced as the first and second varsity fours. They seat-raced on Friday, so this was the first time the women had rowed in these particular lineups.
The Ephs are now gearing up for the critical second half of their racing schedule. “This race marks the start of everything coming together for the championship season,” said co-captain Katherine Robinson ’09. “We really proved to ourselves that we can execute our race plan.”
Despite the women’s success last Saturday, Moore assured them there is still a lot of work left to do. “I think an immature crew might think they’ve done what they needed to do, but I hope they possess the emotional maturity to take this [victory] as just the next step,” he said.
On Saturday, the women will race at the New England Rowing Championships in Worcester, Mass.