Women’s crew left Lake Quinsigamond last Saturday with a strong statement with its races at the New England Rowing Championship.
The women rowed to victory in the overall team points trophy, which is given to the team with the most points from the men’s and women’s races, with a total of 194 points, beating out second-place Trinity, which finished with 169 points. The women also claimed the women’s points trophy for the seventh consecutive year, turning in four first-place finishes and winning all of the events they entered.
The morning consisted of preliminary heats during which all Williams crews were able to maintain their first-place seeding for the afternoon’s grand finals. “This weekend was a great start to our championship season, and we are excited about the extra speed that each boat is finding as we come together,” co-captain Sydney Tooze ’12 said.
In the first Grand Final of the day, the women’s 3V was calm and collected off the start, quickly gaining a couple of seats on Bates. The Bobcats were able to hold contact with the Ephs through the 750-meter mark. However, once the Ephs hit their stride coming through the halfway mark, they were able to gain open water. Williams moved effectively all the way to the line, executing a powerful sprint to a speedy finish in 7:02.06, six seconds over second-place Bates.
The novice eight was next to hit the line. Although the boat gained a strong lead on the field after the first 750 meters, Wellesley fought back with every stroke. Coming into the last 500 meters, Wellesley regained overlap with the novice crew and began sprinting to pace the women going into the last 100 meters of the course. In what proved to be the most exciting race of the season, Williams crossed the line in 7:15.77, just half a second ahead of Wellesley.
“It was extremely rewarding to see that hard work we have put in during the off-season come together to give us the edge we needed to pull ahead,” said Alyssa Amos ’15, five seat of the novice eight. “I am so proud of how far this boat has come, and it will be exciting to race next weekend against such great competition.”
The Williams 2V executed a clean and powerful race. Coming through the 500-meter mark, Williams gained open water over all of its competitors. Consistently striding at a solid base rating, the Ephs took first with a time of 6:55.08, eight seconds ahead of the field.
“We had two good races after a great week of practice,” Kelsey Conklin ’12, stroke seat of the 2V said. “We saw some closer competition and expect other crews to challenge us next week. We know exactly what to work on in order to be ready for those contests.”
The race day concluded with the 1V in the Grand Final. The women finished with a mature piece, rowing together in order to walk through Bates. After executing several powerful moves Williams was able to pull ahead of the entire field. Crushing their competition, the Ephs crossed the line with a time of 6:45.31 to give the women a 10-second margin over the Bobcats.
“The 1V had a fantastic race,” 1V coxswain Fiona Wilkes ’12 said after the race. “We had a solid heat, which set us up for a great final. We headed into it excited to see Bates for the first time and raced a complete piece with a strong start and a powerful sprint. We were constantly moving on the field and ended up with a 10-second margin.”
The women look forward to traveling back to Worcester, Mass., this Friday for the highly anticipated ECAC Championships. Pending ECAC finishes, the Williams crews hope to qualify for the NCAA tournament, which will be held May 25-26 in West Windsor, N.J.