Heavyweight crew finishes ninth at Foot of the Charles

by Dan Lentz | 11/22/09 11:00pm

The Big Green heavyweight crew team raced its way to ninth, 14th and 39th place at the Foot of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass., on Saturday.

"We are pretty happy with the results," co-captain Evan Greulich '10 said. "All three boats raced well."

Dartmouth sent three varsity heavyweight four-person boats to the race, in which 46 boats competed.

Dartmouth's best time, 13:41, put the Big Green behind many of its Ivy rivals, including multiple boats from Brown and Harvard two schools whose crew teams consistently rank in the top tier, according to heavyweight coach Topher Bordeau.

Bordeau credited Dartmouth's results to the quality of training the team has had in its practices, but said that the team is capable of doing better.

"The results were realistic because of the [Dartmouth Plan]," Bordeau said. "We were also racing among the best crews in the Eastern Sprints league."

Reflecting on the season in its entirety, Bordeau said that he believes that the rowers did well, citing the team's improved ergometer results.

"The team as individuals did a tremendous job with training," Bordeau said.

The team's training program has been more personalized this year, Greulich said.

"Improvement comes slowly, year-by-year, in rowing," Greulich said. "But everyone was happy with the improvement of their individual performances."

The Big Green lightweight crew team did not send its varsity squad to the Foot of the Charles, although the freshman A boat finished in seventh place out of nine boats in a category that included both lightweight and heavyweight squads. The lightweights have enjoyed a good fall season, which is generally used to prepare for the more meaningful spring, coach Dan Roock said.

"We got a lot done this fall," Roock said. "We are seeing nice progress."

Roock said that he came into the season trying to push the team to work on fundamentals and build a base for speed to come in the future.

"We hope and expect to be competitive in every race," he said. "We are training to be ready to race."

Dartmouth crew teams face obstacles in their fall training: Not only does the Dartmouth Plan affect which athletes are on campus for the fall season, but Dartmouth's late fall start also gives the crew teams much less time to prepare for races.

"We start behind," lightweight co-captain Josh Patch '09 Th'10 said. "Most other crews have prep time."

Roock is in the midst of his first season coaching at Dartmouth after spending 12 years at Cornell.

Roock has changed the way the lightweight team trains, Patch said, increasing the emphasis on weight training and changing the rowers' stroke.

"The new stroke is a lot more efficient," Patch said. "It leaves more room for us to reach our potential."

Roock has had to adjust as well, learning how to coach around Dartmouth life, he said.

"I have to adapt to the class scheduling because it is hard in crew to practice when all of the team members are not there," Roock said.

The team has often had to hold in early-morning practices as a result of afternoon classes.

Both Roock and Patch said they are optimistic about the spring. "We are hoping to get some early experience with victories, then be in the top six schools in the Eastern Sprints final." Patch said.

Roock said that he is hoping that the Big Green's focus on technical training during the fall pays off in terms of speed.

The heavyweight crew is also optimistic about their spring season, Greulich said.

"We are happy with the fall, but we are looking forward to the spring," he said.

Bordeau said he believes that the team has some work to do, but that they have the dedication to put in the effort required for success.

"We want to win some races," Bordeau said. "But we can't look beyond the next race. The first one we have is at Yale."