Women's novices row best at Eastern Sprints

by Kate Siber | 5/17/02 5:00am

On the water, a second can make the crucial difference.The Dartmouth women's crew team faced fast opponents Sunday at the Eastern Sprints Championships in Camden, N.J. Although no boat made it to the grand finals, the first and second novice boats came in third in the second-level finals and ninth overall.

The first novice boat encountered a difficult heat, with the fast Brown and Princeton in the lead. The boat came in third to move on to the second-level final.

In the final race, the first novice boat raced closely with Syracuse University and Cornell University throughout the race, always within two seats of each other. Dartmouth finished third, only one and two seconds behind Cornell and Syracuse, respectively.

"We had a really really good race," first novice rower Susie Dain-Owens '05 said. "We pulled harder than we ever had, and the best part was that it felt so together."

The second novice boat had a disappointing race in its heat, coming in fourth behind Cornell, the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania. The rowers composed themselves for a strong performance in the final, in which they fought with Brown from start to finish.

By the end of the race, it was clear that the University of Wisconsin and Yale had finished first and second, but the finish between Brown and Dartmouth was so close that neither crew knew who was third until the race officials announced that Dartmouth had come in two-tenths of a second ahead.

"[In] the second race, it just seemed like everything came together for us," second novice rower Caroline Kerr '05 said. "Everyone poured all of their energy and strength into that race. It was just a very satisfying way to finish the season."

The second varsity also made it to the second-level final, but after expending most of their energy on the first race, the rowers had little to give for the final and came in sixth out of six boats.

In the heat, Dartmouth fought with Penn throughout the race for a fourth-place finish that would allow the Big Green to move on to the second-level -- rather than the third-level -- final.

Racing in fourth place down the course, Penn started more than half of a boat length ahead of Dartmouth's second varsity. Dartmouth's rowers remained composed, however, and rowed through Penn to finish ahead by about two seconds.

"Our first race felt fantastic," second varsity rower Jackie Chamberlain '04 said.

"It was probably our best race of the season. We were long and powerful and I could just feel how all nine of us just committed to giving everything we had to the race, all the way to the last stroke."

Making it to only the third-level final with a fifth-place finish in the heat, Dartmouth's first varsity boat had a good second race, coming in second out of six boats.

The first varsity rowers were excited to race Boston University, which had beaten them earlier in the season by more than 20 seconds. Dartmouth closed the margin in the third-level final, coming in only five seconds behind BU.

"Well, as an end to the season I think that we all felt a sense of putting it all out there for the final," co-captain and first varsity rower Kate Murphy '02 said.

"We were pleased with how we rowed as a boat for the last race. It was a nice, concrete realization that we improved over the season, seeing BU like that," she added.

The fourth varsity four-person boat appropriately came in fourth in its heat, missing the grand final -- the only final held for the fourth varsity fours -- by just one place.

The third varsity four-person boat, however, made it to the second-level final by beating out the U.S. Naval Academy for fourth place in the heat. The third varsity rowers had an extremely fast start in the final, emerging ahead of all of their opponents. The other crews took moves at the 750-meter mark while Dartmouth slowed its pace.

In the third quarter, Brown, Syracuse and Northeastern University were all ahead, but Dartmouth and Radcliffe College were fighting toward the finish line. In the last twenty strokes, Dartmouth started to move on Radcliffe, which was a few seats up.

There wasn't enough time to fully catch up, however, as Radcliffe crossed the line six-tenths of a second before Dartmouth, which came in fifth over Penn.

"So in our incredible improvement over the season, these races were a great way to finish up," third varsity rower Audrey Campbell '02 said.

"In terms of pure results, there's a bit to be desired. I think that resonates for the entire team. We improved so much, and things started feeling really good, but time ran out this year."

Women's crew looks forward to building on progress made this season come next fall.