Women’s crew earns 3 golds at ECACs

Sunday dawned brisk and windy as women’s crew traveled to Worcester, Mass., for the ECAC Championships on Lake Quinsigamond. Racing 1V, 2V and 3V eights, the Ephs brought home three golds, finishing second overall in points on the women’s side. Ithaca won the total score because Williams did not race a novice boat. The women also combined with the men’s team to come in third overall. Trinity took first overall with 122 points, while Ithaca came in second with 102 and Williams clocked in at 100 points.

Taking care of business in their respective morning heats, the 1V, 2V and 3V all rowed to first place finishes. With the wind speed picking up to nearly 30 mph and delaying several races, many feared that the regatta would be called off before the finals could be held. “The wind was gusting so strongly in the morning that after our heat, I didn’t think all of the races of the day would go off,” co-captain and 1V stroke Julia Haltermann ’10 said. “Luckily, I was proven wrong.”

The 1V flew down the course to post a solid time of 6:36.613 in the crew’s last tune-up for the NCAA Div. III Rowing championship May 28. The boat took first, finishing seven seconds faster than closest competitor Ithaca. “The final was one of if not the best race we’ve had as a boat,” Lindsay Olsen ’12 said. “We were all nervous because we had had such a rocky heat in the morning and Ithaca had posted a faster heat time. But our warm up felt good and there was an element of aggression that really made our boat fly. Our start felt incredibly powerful and connected and we just kept walking from there.” While a few boats afforded the Ephs a little competition, Williams easily held its lead throughout the race. “It was really exciting to feel pushed by Ithaca and Bates, but know that we were in control the whole race,” Olsen said. “I think everyone was tremendously pleased with how we really pulled together in the final and gave it all we had. It was a great way to end our regular season.”

The 2V finished first in its race with an impressive time of 6:46.158, which would have earned them third in the 1V race. “For the final, we had one of our best starts of the season, quickly gaining seats on the field,” 2V coxswain Liz Zhu ’11 said. “We strode away from the field on our first move.” The boat’s first move came early in the race, near the 400-meter mark, and the crew would hold the lead gained there for the rest of the race. “Throughout the middle of the course, we laid out a strong base, even at the pinch point at the 1000-meter mark where the severe crosswind created waves across our lane,” Zhu added.

The 2V Ephs are already looking forward to their next bout of competition. “We’re excited to go to Sacramento and put our bow ball next to the best of Div. III’s 1Vs and 2Vs,” Zhu said. “Since NCAAs does not differentiate between 1Vs and 2Vs in the racing format, we have the opportunity to test our speed against not only our own 1V, which we see every day in practice, but others as well.” This season’s results bode well for NCAA glory for the boat, as it has consistently posted times competitive with 1V boats throughout the year.

After coasting through the preliminaries, the 3V upped the intensity and headed into the afternoon final raring to go, taking first in the race. Posting a time of 7:02.113, the 3V left the rest of the field in their wake; Second-place Ithaca crossed the line a full 16 seconds later.

“Our goal was to break seven minutes, and we were just two seconds off,” Nora Kern ’12 said of the race. “We finished up with an amazing sprint at the end which were probably some of the best race-strokes we’ve taken all year.”

Riding on the momentum of an undefeated spring season, the 1V and 2V have the chance to make history at the 2010 NCAA Div. III Women’s Rowing Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif., on May 28-30. The Ephs travel to NCAAs with the goal of claiming their fifth straight NCAA title.