Heavyweight rowing sweeps Syracuse University and Boston University, moves into championship season

The number four ranked rowing team closes out dual competition with wins at Lake Morey in Vermont.

by Macenna Hansen | 5/6/22 2:00am

Source: Courtesy of Harrison Taylor

At its home meet last weekend at Lake Morey, the men's heavyweight rowing team swept wins across five boats against Syracuse University and Boston University, taking home the Packard Cup with Saturday’s win and the Bill Cup on Sunday.

The races were contested in tough, windy conditions on Saturday, so only the first and second varsity boats were able to race. Both boats earned wins, giving the Big Green the Packard Cup title over Syracuse. 

By Sunday, the weather had calmed down so that all five boats could race against both BU and Syracuse — and all five won.

Before the races last weekend, Dartmouth’s squad, now ranked fourth in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges,  had also bested Brown University, Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the College of the Holy Cross this season. The team now enters its championship season with the Eastern Sprints competition on May 15 and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships on June 4. 

"[Winning against those teams] shows how healthy the program is right now," men’s heavyweight assistant coach John Graves said.

The Big Green has not lost a race since its matchup against number two ranked Yale University on April 9.

"I think the Yale race was an important moment for the squad in terms of matching up against the best in the country and seeing where they were at that point in the season,” Graves said. “We were able to see the best team and then go back to work to see how much we can close the gap.”

The team is looking forward to its chance to make good on all its hard work throughout the season with a strong performance in the championship events, according to third varsity rower Alex Robertson ’23.

“I think we're looking to have our strongest team performance at Eastern Sprints that we've ever had,” he said. “Because in every single boat class, we're in the rankings for a medal.”

Currently, Dartmouth is ranked third in the first varisty, second in the second varsity, third in the third varsity, first in the fourth varsity  and second in the fifth varsity. Every boat class is well-positioned to make it on the podium.

“Sprints is a chance for the program to show our depth,” Graves said.

With five boats racing all season, both second varsity rower Gustav Arvidsson ’21 and Graves credited their success at least partially to the squad’s internal competition, pushing each other to work harder and get faster each week.

The team has built that momentum despite being one of the last schools able to get on the water due to the cold, forcing the Big Green to progress faster throughout the spring than many of its competitors, according to Arvidsson.

Although they had some competitions last spring, the whole team was not present, and Arvidsson said that it was great to have everyone back for spring racing and training.

“What I love about what we’re doing right now is that we do so much race repetition in practice against each other,” Arvidsson said. “That teaches us what we should do so when the day of the race comes, we know exactly what we should do and can execute.”

Last spring, Dartmouth took third in the first varsity race at the IRA Championships, a feat that marked the program’s progress and raised the team’s expectations for itself this championship season.

“While there's certainly an expectation to perform that we didn't necessarily have last year, [head coach] Wyatt [Allen] likes to say pressure is a privilege,” first varsity rower Bill Bender ’24 said. “Especially when you have a fast crew, racing is just exciting.”

The Big Green will look to continue that exciting season through the championships, especially since every team is present this year, Arvidsson said.

“This is a real season,” he said. “Last season, while there were still a lot of good teams and races, Harvard and Yale weren't there. But this time it's against all teams.”