No. 3 Wisconsin bests Green rowers
The Dartmouth heavyweight crew fell to Wisconsin under adverse racing conditions at Saturday's Cochrane Cup on Lake Mendota, Wis. In first varsity action, third-ranked Wisconsin took the race in 6:01.48 ,while eighth-ranked Dartmouth was less than five seconds off pace, finishing in 6:06.31. M.I.T. followed in third place with a time of 6:55.94 for the 2,000 meter race.
After a great start by both Dartmouth and Wisconsin, the two boats were level for the first quarter of the race. By the 500-meter mark, the Badgers began to pull away. As the two boats reached the 1,500-meter mark, Wisconsin had established open water. In a strong sprint to the finish, Dartmouth managed to close much of the gap, but Wisconsin held on to take victory.
Racing one of the other finest crews in the country, the Big Green knew it would have a challenging race. When strong winds forced the race to be moved to an alternate course on another section of the lake, Dartmouth rowers recognized the race would prove even more difficult.
Despite the course move the conditions were only marginally better. While the second varsity race had poor conditions, a shift in the wind caused the first varsity race to have a strong headwind that slowed the boats.
Unfortunately, the second varsity boat did not have better luck. In the second varsity competition, Wisconsin's second boat took top honors in 6:04.35 while Wisconsin's third boat followed in 6:06.83. Dartmouth took third in 6:17.02.
In this race, the Badgers established early dominance, with both boats ahead of Dartmouth by a seat-and-a-half. As rower Shane Keane '05 stated, "We moved back about half a seat during our high strokes, but when we settled, the stroke rating dropped continuously, and they moved steadily out on us. We were as low as 31 strokes per minute at times in the race."
He continued, "Both we and the varsity had a rough time dealing with the especially bad conditions and unfamiliar boats. We basically took our 200 worst strokes, put them all together, and called it a race."
As for the freshman, M.I.T. claimed both the freshman eight and freshman four races, while Dartmouth placed second in both.
Despite the disappointments of this weekend, the Dartmouth rowers have no fear that Eastern Sprints will give their boats the opportunity to exhibit the strength and dominance that they have had in all of this season's other races.
As coxswain Melissa Mowat '03 commented, "We lost by 4.8 seconds, but it was our worst piece of the year. We simply didn't perform up to par. We're looking for some sweet revenge on better water and more even conditions at Sprints next week."
Keane confidently added, "We can and will do better in a week at Eastern Sprints."
Dartmouth hits the water next on Sunday for Eastern Sprints at Worcester, Mass.