First-year rowers excel at home race

by Kate Mulley | 11/11/04 6:00am

Decked out in orange racing shirts and rowing through fierce winds, the Dartmouth freshman men's crews took to the Connecticut River Saturday with victory in mind. In the first home race of their Dartmouth rowing careers, the Big Green freshmen dominated the competition from Boston University, Harvard, Trinity, UNH and MIT. Both the heavyweight and lightweight squads turned out strong finishes, with the heavyweight eight winning the race and the lightweight squad winning the men's team award with the fastest combined time of any squad.

Due to wind and choppy water, the race course was shortened from three miles, a typical head race piece, to 1.5 miles. The truncated course did not affect the Dartmouth crews as the heavies finished with a time of 7:42 and the lightweight A boat was close behind with a time of 7:44, 10 seconds faster than the third-place Boston University A boat. The second lightweight boat finished fifth.

Freshman lightweight coach Chris Woll noted that the Dartmouth crews had been rowing in difficult water during the days leading up to the race, which apparently prepared them for the tough racing conditions. He acknowledged, though, the potential for a home course advantage, saying: "It depends on the ability of the coxswain to make use of it. The freshman lightweight coxswains both did a nice job on Saturday."

Seven-seat of the winning heavyweight eight Jamie Tansey '08 cited the intensity that the heavyweight eight had in their success. "We rowed strong into the wind. Every time we race the eight we're getting better. And while we may not be as technically sound as we want to be, we are developing a good racing mentality," he said.

Battling an orange-clad crew of their own, the varsity lightweights traveled to Princeton, N.J., for the Princeton Chase. Though the lights hoped to turn around a frustrating fall season in New Jersey, they struggled in a cross-headwind against Harvard, Yale, Cornell and other strong Eastern crews on Sunday.

The varsity boat finished a disappointing 19th in the lightweight eight race with a time of 15:19. Harvard posted the fastest time in the eights race with 14:10. The second varsity placed 23rd in the eights race with a time of 15:33.The first varsity boat split into two boats for the fours race, finishing in 19th and 34th place.

One of the fours collided with a Delaware boat, the same crew they collided with at the Head of the Charles. "We were going around a turn and they cut into us," two seat Jon Kroft '07 recalled. "For a minute or so [our oars] were locked up, which eventually ended when we were forced to come to a complete stop." The collision slowed down the boat's momentum considerably, deeply disheartening the crew.

The second varsity boat, on the other hand, was pleased with their strong performance against top-notch crews. Stroke Marco Adelfio '05 saw a lot of improvement in the boat since previous races.

"Hopefully we can keep it up through the winter and come back for a strong spring," Adelfio said.

Captain Luke Gilroy '05 also recognized the winter training work that the lights need to do to be competitive in the spring racing season. "Going into the winter, everyone understands that we're going to have to be a lot stronger if we're going to have success in the spring," he remarked, "and everyone seems ready to make the effort to do that."

Both heavyweight and lightweight crews take a week off from racing before sending varsity and freshmen boats to the Foot of the Charles on Nov. 20. They look forward to fast crews and competitive racing in Boston before taking the docks in and hitting the ergs for the winter.

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