Women’s crew sweeps NE championship

Women’s crew surpassed all competition to take first in the New England Rowing championship on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., on Saturday. Williams left the 25-team field of competitors in its wake, as the team swept the 1V, 2V, 3V and varsity four races.

In the morning, the varsity four, the 1V and the 2V lined up for heats due to the sheer number of boats racing. Each boat won its heat with the respective times of 7:43.431, 6:54.969 and 7:14.846. These times were good enough to advance each Eph boat to the next round as the No. 1 seed.

The varsity four set the tone for the afternoon, fighting to an 8:04.967 finish, nine seconds ahead of second-place Bowdoin. With a strong start and strategic move at the 400-meter mark, the varsity four pulled past Bowdoin early on and pulled even further ahead for the first-place finish in the end.

The 1V came out on top over Bates, arguably the crew’s toughest competitor. The women finished 6:59.646 for the win, clocking in over seven seconds faster than the second-place Bobcats.

“Off of the start in our final Bates was up a few seats, which was the first time that we had been led all season,” Dana Golden ’13 said. “We were able to respond effectively by recommitting to our rhythm and then extended our lead through the rest of the race.”

The 2V turned on the speed in their grand finale to leave no doubt that the Ephs are ready to compete with 1V boats at NCAAs. Crossing the line in just 7:10.329, the 2V finished with a decisive margin of 20 seconds over the boat’s nearest competitor.

“We knew that UNH had had a great morning race against Bates, who had showed us a very strong start and pushed us hard last week on Onota,” 2V coxswain Liz Zhu ’11 said. “Having a quick and powerful start was essential in procuring the mental advantage to control the race. We executed our start perfectly and by the 300-meter mark, we had cleared the field and continued to throw down our strong base against the growing head wind.” The women’s final time would have put the boat in third place among 1V competition.

The 3V stepped up to the challenge in its race. Taking a 10 at the 400-meter mark for horizontal power to pull Williams up to the bow balls of the other crews and then pulling away by the 1000-meter mark, the crew went 7:39.431 for first over Simmons, who came in second at 8:01.276. Due to some last minute lineup changes, the final lineup only rowed together once before the race. “We had to mentally commit to making this happen, and then we did,” 3V coxswain Amelia Simmons ’13 said.

The women haven’t been sidetracked by their success last weekend: The team is already looking ahead to ECACs on Saturday, which will also be held on Lake Quinsigamond. “We are really looking forward to some competitive racing and also tightening up our race strategy and technique for ECACs,” 1V coxswain Becca Licht ’11 said. “We’ll be looking at the fastest crews in Div. III from the East Coast which will hopefully give us an idea of where the speed is for the next step in our season, NCAAs.” NCAAs, where the women will seek their fifth straight title, will be held May 28-29 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif.

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