Eight of the 11 entered women’s crew boats raced to top-three finishes at the Head of the Fish on Saturday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. This regatta marked Williams’ largest showing so far this year, as 26 novice women took their first racing strokes for the Ephs in the lightweight four, novice four and novice eight events. On the varsity side, crews competed in the varsity eight, JV eight and varsity four events. The team’s successful results across the board serve to highlight the depth of this season’s squad.
The novice lightweight four faced off against UMass and Sacred Heart to open the morning, rowing to a third-place finish. The women’s collegiate eight, which took the gold at the Head of the Charles the weekend prior, was off the line next. With a speedy time of 13:03.36, the 1V left the rest of the field in its wake, capturing first place.
“Coming off the Head of the Charles win, the Head of the Fish might seem a little anticlimactic, but I think we approached the race focused and prepared,” co-captain Adrienne Darrow ’11 said. “It was tough conditions, but overall we were happy with how we performed and how we placed.”
In the women’s JV eight race that immediately followed, both the 2V and 3V competed. The 2V, which was entered as the JV eight ‘A’ boat, reeled in another gold for Williams with a time of 13:39.52, which would have put them in sixth in the 1V event.
“We were very excited to see what the fall season of training had prepared us to achieve,” 2V seven-seat Annie Haley ’13 said. “At the end of the day, we were really happy with how our finish time placed us both within the 2V race and the 1V race.” The 3V, listed as the JV eight ‘B’ and comprised primarily of novice rowers, raced in to a strong finish ahead of the only other 3V in the event.
The novice fours posted impressive showings as well, securing first- and third-place finishes in their race with times of 16:38.55 and 17:10.40, respectively.
In the afternoon, the novice eights closed out the novice racing for the day with a splash. The novice eight ‘A’ boat crossed the line with a time of 13:15.20 to take first. The novice eight ‘B’ crew, not far behind, rowed to fourth in a time of 13:46.57.
“In the six weeks of training before the Fish, we definitely enjoyed the benefit of having a large program to work with and compete with internally, but it’s not the same as getting to go up against other crews,” Assistant Coach Meg Conan said. “This weekend, it was nice to see where we’ve gotten with all our hard work this fall.”
The Ephs finished the day strong with the varsity fours race. Three Williams boats lined up against 30 other crews and came in with three top-eight finishes. The ‘A’ boat, made up of seniors, finished with a time of 13:35.76, placing them second to the junior-staffed ‘B’ boat, which crossed the line with a time of 13:09.56. The ‘C’ boat, comprised of sophomores, rounded out the race for Williams in eighth with a time of 14:13.86.
“I think it was a great way for the varsity to end their season and a good first event for the novices,” Head Coach Brad Hemmerly said of the team’s final race until the ice thaws in the spring. “Despite rowing into a headwind, varsity and novices alike dealt well with the conditions and had strong showings to wrap up the fall.”
The Head of the Fish marks the end of women’s crew’s fall head racing season. The team will now retire to winter training before restarting its season in the spring.