Women's novice crew speeds by competition

by Taylor Duvall | 11/11/04 6:00am

The Dartmouth women's novice crew team cleaned up at its first race of the season this weekend. Fighting windy and rough conditions on their home Connecticut River and rowing on a course shortened to 1.5 miles from its original three miles, the A boat came in first place at the Dartmouth Novice Invitational with a time of 9:40. The B boat was third with a time of 9:57, just seconds behind Boston University's A boat.

The times of each school's top two boats were combined to determine the winning team, and Dartmouth's stellar A and B boats together took first place. Dartmouth also raced a C boat that came in 10th with a time of 11:23.

The women's novice crew team is unique in that it is comprised of three experienced and 21 completely novice rowers as well as one experienced and four novice coxswains.

Brittany Ousterhout '08 had never rowed before coming to Dartmouth.

"Crew is one of those addicting sports," she said. "I went to the first practice just to give it a shot, and fell in love with it. Whether you're in the boat or doing a land workout, it's a total team effort. The recruited rowers and coxswain have been awesome in helping the novices get a feel for the sport and being patient as we learn. As a true novice, it was exciting and relieving to finish our first race."

Experienced rower Nicole Bertucci '08 echoed Ousterhout's excitement.

"All three boats really pulled it together," she said. "This type of unity so early on is a good predictor of how well the rest of the season and the year for that matter are going to go."

Chris Schmidt '90, coach of the novice women's team and former Dartmouth lightweight rower, said he was pleased with the way all three boats handled the difficult conditions and the shorter course.

"They didn't let the wind and waves get to them, racing 30 strokes per minute down the course," he said. "We are off to a good start, but we still have a lot of work to do for a successful spring season."

The novice team travels next weekend to Boston to compete in the Foot of the Charles Regatta, where Anna Thompson '08 said the team is "really looking forward to getting more experience where there will be more teams and stronger competition."

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