Men’s crew opens season at Head of Housatonic

Men’s crew made the trip to the Housatonic River in Shelton, Conn., for its first race of the fall season on Oct. 6. The competition was split into Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) and non-IRA divisions on the 5.2k course. The men’s 1V boat placed fifth in the IRA division with Yale’s 1V capturing first place, and the 2V and 3V finished second and fifth, respectively, in the non-IRA competition behind first-place Wesleyan.

The men entered their first varsity boat into the IRA division in order to race top talent in Yale. The first boat came in fifth with a time of 14:03.34 that put them behind the top two Yale heavies and lights. The Ephs failed to improve upon their fourth-place finish from 2011; however, the men are working with a completely different group of athletes, and a much younger and less experienced lineup than in seasons past.

The second varsity boat raced as expected, placing second in the non-IRA division, losing only to Wesleyan’s first varsity boat. The boat posted a time of 14:26.15. “We are pleased with our performance, but we know that there is more speed to be found,” stroke and co-captain John Gorman ’13 said.

The third varsity boat provided the most excitement with a fifth-place finish in a time of 14:58.22, which put the boat only 32 seconds off the 2V and 55 seconds off the 1V. “The ability of our team to put three boats within a minute of each other is a testament to our depth,” co-captain Zach Tarlow ’13 said. “Going forward, we hope to use this depth to push the top boats to faster times.”

The men entered four boats in the varsity four competition, with two entered in the IRA and two in the non-IRA divisions. The lightweight boat performed best for the Ephs, clearing the field in the non-IRA event by almost 20 seconds, clocking in at 15:58.27, the best time of the day for Williams’ fours. The other Eph boats followed with times of 16:01.43, 16:26.00 and 17:09.57. “Fours are not our priority, but we chose to put some out there to get guys some additional racing experience,” Parker Finch ’14 said.

The novice eight boat, primarily composed of walk-on first-years who have only been rowing for four weeks, posted a solid time of 16:36.90 for eighth place, crossing the line behind top finishers Yale and Brown.

Overall, the Ephs did not perform as well as desired, but rowers and coaches alike took away a lot of information on how to increase boat speed. After a weekend off from racing, the crew is gearing up for the Head of the Charles this weekend. The Charles is the pinnacle of the fall racing season. The Ephs will field two boats in the collegiate eight event, held on the Charles River in Boston, on Sunday.

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