Coming off of a productive week of training, men’s crew returned to Lake Quinsigamond to prepare for its last race of the season last Saturday. The wind on race day was expected to be unpredictable, varying anywhere between a light crosswind down the course to a 15 mph gusting headwind. The regatta officials, trying to anticipate the conditions, inverted the races so the fastest boats hit the water first. Like the New England Rowing Championship, the National Invitational Rowing Championships was a heats-to-finals style progression. In the 1V category, the top two finishers from each heat moved on to the final; in the 2V category, the top two crews also moved on to the grand final; and in the 3V category, the top three crews moved on to the grand final.
The 1V got off the line in the heat in the thick of it, with Bates on the left and and Trinity on its right. Through the course of the race, Bates and Williams left most of the field behind as the fought to the finish. With a strong sprint, the Ephs pressed through the Bates crew, finishing about four seats up with a time of 6:26.412 with Bates about a second and half behind. In the final, the 1V sprung off the line amidst the Michigan and Hobart crews, holding with them for the first stretch of the race, but as the crews came through the 1000 meters, the Michigan crew began to walk away with Hobart in between the Williams and Michigan crews. The Michigan 1V came through the line first in a time of 6:16.667, followed by Hobart in 6:22.045 and then in third the Williams 1V crossing the line in 6:23.78, securing the seventh NESCAC title in eight years.
In its heat, the 2V saw Wesleyan and WPI, both crews they have seen in past racing weekends. The 2V crossed the line in 6:48.140, nine seconds ahead of Wesleyan, a crew it just edged out last week at the New England Rowing Championship by less than half a second. The 2V sprung off the line in the final, staying within a few meters of Michigan and Hobart for the first half of the race. In the final, the 2V crossed the line for third behind first place Hobart, who got the last stroke to move in front of second-place Michigan.
The 3V had a rocky start off the line in the heat, but the crew picked it back up strongly to finish third in their heat with a time of 7:09.317, securing its position in the grand final, behind Michigan and Trinity, who also moved on. In the final, the 3V men had their best start of the year, getting off the line at 42 strokes per minute and then settling into a solid rhythm despite the gusting winds. The crew finished in fifth place ahead of Trinity, crossing the line in 6:31.876. Michigan and Hobart placed first and second, respectively, with times of 6:11.499 and 6:17.826.
“I am proud of all these guys for what we accomplished this year,” Head Coach Colin Regan said. “It’s great to be [conference] champions for the first time since 2014. That title has gotten harder and harder to win in recent years as we see this whole league pick up speed. More importantly, I am proud of the choice made each day by every guy to invest into team speed. We won the NIRC combined points trophy by three points, so truly it’s the case that everyone’s effort today and in all the months leading up to today mattered.”
The National Invitational Rowing Championship wrapped up the season for men’s crew; the men are excited with their results and looking forward to building upon it next year. The team graduates Alex Ellison ’16, Chaewon Kim ’16 and captain Logan Jester ’16. Meanwhile, the men will be cheering on women’s crew, who will be taking on the nation’s fastest crews at the NCAA championships May 27-29 held at Gold River, Calif.