Last weekend, women’s crew dominated the New England Rowing Championships by taking the gold in each event it raced: the first, second and third varsity eights as well as the first and second varsity fours. The team also won the women’s points trophy in addition to the overall combined points trophy for the men and women.
Head Coach Justin Moore highlighted impressive performances put on by first and second varsity boats. “New England’s was a great opportunity to see how the 1V would respond to a difficult week of training,” he said. “Our 2V, recently reconfigured, had the opportunity to test their wings with a solid week of consistency under their belts. Both crews executed under the pressure very well.”
After easily winning its heat, the first varsity eight fought Bates and Trinity in the grand final. They finished 2.2 seconds ahead of Bates and 2.64 seconds ahead of Trinity in a time of 6:55.88. The University of New Hampshire, Holy Cross and Smith rounded out the rest of the field.
After racing Bates last week, the boat knew it would have to prepare for a response from the Bobcats. “We spent a lot of the week thinking about how the race would unfold now that they had raced us once,” said co-captain Katherine Robinson ’09.
Last week, Williams took a strong move around 600 meters that solidified its position ahead of Bates. This week, the women knew that race plan would not suffice. “We took another move before the 1000 meters and knew we’d have to take another one in the third 500 meters,” Robinson said.
In the final 500 meters of the race, Trinity attempted to sprint ahead of Bates, who had been in a solid second place for the majority of the race, but Williams was able to keep its lead. “We could see them making a push, and we had enough to hold them off,” Robinson said. “I think we’re going to focus on our boat speed this week and make sure that we’ve got an answer if someone tries to sprint through us.”
The second varsity eight made a statement in its final race, winning by 10.6 seconds over Holy Cross and 12.8 seconds over Bates. Trinity, Tufts and Wellesley finished in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
“Our goal beforehand was to be really aggressive in the first 1000 meters and establish ourselves as a clear leader from the first strokes of the race in the heat and the final,” said stroke Kat Conaway ’09. “For the rest of the season, we want to work on getting the boat faster and working on the second half of the race, which will become increasingly important as we face faster competition.”
For yet another week, the third varsity eight – composed completely of novices – dominated its competition. The squad won its final by 26.04 seconds over Wellesley, Holy Cross, Trinity, Tufts and Smith, in that order.
The varsity four saw the toughest competition of its season on Saturday. The boat won its heat by 6.2 seconds over Amherst, and in the final, the women beat out Bowdoin by 2.8 seconds to capture gold. Conn. College, WPI, Franklin Pierce and Amherst took third through sixth in the event.
The second varsity four also won its final handedly, beating Conn. College A by 8.9 seconds and Bowdoin by 13.2 seconds. Conn. College B, Amherst, Clark and Franklin Pierce finished in fourth through seventh places, respectively.
After winning all five of its events, the team won the women’s trophy with 108 points. Bates and Holy Cross tied for second place with 72 points and Trinity took third with 59 points. In addition, the women helped earn the total points trophy for Williams over second and third place finishers Trinity and Bates.
The Ephs received further honors on Monday when USRowing announced its selections for the U23 Lightweight National Team camps. Robinson was one of 12 women to be invited to the camp that will select a pair, quad and single to compete at the U23 World Championship Trials in West Windsor, N.J.
On Saturday and Sunday, the first, second and third varsity eights will race at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rowing Championships, held on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The women will face many of the crews they raced this weekend, as well as crews from New York and the Mid-Atlantic region.