Women’s crew was quick off the line to begin its fall racing season. The Ephs faced their first test of the year on Oct. 9 at the Head of the Housatonic in Shelton, Conn. The women found themselves well-prepared, with all four Eph boats entered rowing to top three finishes. The 1V and the first four competed in Div. I races, while the 2V and second four rowed in non-Div. I races.
“The Head of the Housatonic was a great chance for us to figure out where our team stood and what numbers we could put up,” co-captain Anna Soybel ’11 said. “After so much internal training, the external feedback we got from this weekend was extremely important and gratifying.”
The fours races opened the morning for the team, with Williams’ first four flying to an 18:22 finish, claiming first in the Div. I race over Radcliffe, the Harvard women’s team, which came in at 18:34. Williams’ second four left the rest of the field far behind in the non-Div. I race, posting an 18:59 finish, a full minute ahead of second-place finisher Trinity.
In the afternoon, the Ephs pulled through in two more stellar performances. The 1V, which was up against a mix of Div. I crews, finished third to Harvard and Yale.
Since collegiate regattas in the fall consist of head races with staggered starts, Williams lined up fourth, between Yale and Harvard’s 2Vs.
“We went out there with the mentality that we would hunt [Yale’s 1V] and use the length of the race to see how much distance we could diminish between them and us,” co-captain Adrienne Darrow ’11 said. The Ephs managed to close the gap, finishing just 30 seconds off the Yale 1V, last year’s Div. I champion boat.
“[This weekend marked] the best finishes Williams has ever had at the Housatonic,” Darrow added.
Darrow’s sentiments were echoed by her coach. “I was pleasantly surprised by the results this past weekend, just like the rest of our team,” Head Coach Brad Hemmerly said. “We all knew that as a group we were strong and fit. From the strokes I was seeing at the lake, I thought that we were rowing well and getting better every day, but very often you find that rowing well does not necessarily equate to creating and maintaining boat speed. It was great to find out on Saturday against some very good crews that in a racing situation we were able to put both together.”
After putting in the work this summer and fall, the Ephs are “excited to race at the Head of the Charles and eager to go after Grand Valley State for the first place finish,” Darrow said. Grand Valley was last year’s Head of the Charles champion, which will be held Saturday in Cambridge.