Men’s crew took to the newly thawed and buoyed course at Lake Quinsigamond to race against Wesleyan in nearly perfect conditions, a welcome change from the blustery conditions in previous races this season. The historic Little Three Regatta has been a Williams-Wesleyan duel since 2008 when Amherst dropped out due to funding issues.
The first varsity boat took the water to open the competition against the Cardinals. The Ephs got off to a blazing start, taking nearly five seats in the first 500 meters. They continued to push the margin out through the middle 1000 to break open water. The Cardinals fought back for a couple seats before the finish.
“The first varsity had a sharp, quick start and gained an advantage on Wesleyan’s crew in the first 600 to 800 meters of the race and held that margin the entire race,” Head Coach Peter Wells said. “Unfortunately we could not extend the margin, which indicates work to be done this week; but we executed the first 1200 meters of the race as we had practiced all week. This victory saw the return of the Saratoga Oar Award and Williams’ record eighth consecutive victory in this race since 2008. This is the longest win streak in the history of the event.”
The second varsity and first freshman boats raced in the same heat against Wesleyan’s second and third varsity boat.
The 2V got off to a slow start but slowly worked its way back to cross the finish line just under a couple seats ahead of Wesleyan’s bow.
“The second varsity had the race of the day and the “game ball” presentation so to speak,” Wells said. “Coming off the start down to a very spirited Wesleyan second varsity start, Williams was a good four or more seats down to Wesleyan’s crew — in tailwind conditions the opportunity to come back on a crew is diminished, but the group stayed focused and rowed with a unity and precision that kept pressing Wesleyan.”
The 1F had a strong race of its own. Behind off the start as well, the first-years started making moves earlier and were eating up ground on the Cardinals before the 500-meter mark to ultimately cross the finish line with more than a boat and a half of open water.
The third varsity boat raced in a packed race. The Ephs rowed a strong race for a fourth place finish.
The Ephs won the Saratoga Oar (the 1V trophy) for the eighth year in a row, which is a record for any school in the history of the trophy that dates back to 1969.
The rest of Williams’s races will be at Lake Quinsigamond with next week finding the men lining up against Bucknell, Hobart and Holy Cross. The Ephs will then enter championship-racing season with the New Englands the following weekend and the final regatta, ECACs, the next weekend.