by Coach Graham Ludmer
This past weekend, the Tribe traveled to Philadelphia, PA to compete in the coveted Dad Vail Regatta. We arrived right on time Thursday, got in a good round of practice rows, and then quickly got out of the sun to prepare for heats the next day.
Races Friday morning had started early, with the Varsity Womens 4+ launching for their race at 7:30 am. They had a decent heat and knew they needed to get in the top 3 to advance. As the race started, they attacked the start and stayed up with the other leading boats out of the blocks. Coming into the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, my view had them in a tight second place just behind Oklahoma City. After the bridge, all the boats leveled off into a straight coarse and our women made a solid move to push themselves into first place by the St. Josephs boat house (1000m). From 1200 – 1600m, Oklahoma City turned on the jets and rowed very strong fighting to gain the lead by the finish. Seeing the move by Oklahoma, our coxswain (Mairin) made a very strategic call and decided to save some energy for the races tomorrow and lock our position in at 2nd place.
In the Womens 2-, Christine and Camila rowed a very good heat. They came off the blocks very smooth and powerful, and moved on some of the boats ahead of them through the first 500m. Through the bridge, they had a very good turn, and a solid move that pushed them into first. having an eye on the rest of the field at that point, they held off moves by advancing boats and pushed hard through the finish earning a first place position in their heat, and a spot in the semi finals race the next day.
Saturday morning, both boats had their semi final races. Overall times from the day before showed us that the heats were going to be fast, and were going to challenge us more than any race previously. Both the 4+ and the pair launched determined to make it into grand finals. Both boats had good starts, settled well, and rowed fiercely down the course. However despite a solid row, the high level of competition in the other lanes proved to be too much. By the finish the line, the 4+ and the pair both finished in the bottom half of their heat, and couldn’t find a spot into the grand finals. Being entered in an open event, against better funded varsity programs, they were put against elite schools and I thought all 6 rowers and coxswain showed their grit and rowed very good races. I am so proud of everything this group of athletes have done, and everything they have accomplished this year. They have set the bar high for themselves, future varsity women, and the program as a whole.
Thank you to Varsity Women for all their hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
by Coach Jason Mitchell
Racing got started early in the morning for the men with the MV4 event scheduled for 7:30am. Arriving at the course at 6:00am, they were eager to get warmed up and on the water. Looking at their heat, they knew it would was good to take a good race to be one of the top 2 finishers. At the start of the race, the crew was able to put together some good high strokes to keep them up in the lead pack. Leading up to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, it was a pretty close pack with only perennial powerhouse Michigan pulling into the lead. With all boats making a move through the bridge and the dogleg turn in the course, the varsity men emerged middle of the pack on the other side. As teams again started to another move through the island at 1500m, the field began to spread further apart with WM still in the middle. The Tribe crossed the finish line ahead of Scranton and just behind College of New Jersey and MSOE. The rowers thought the race could have been better and pointed out things to improve for the upcoming fall season.
The Varsity Lightweight 4 was able to sleep in a little longer on Friday with their race scheduled for 2:31pm. Their race was a smaller heat of 4 with only 3 moving on. The boat was confident as they took the water knowing they had made some major improvements the past few weeks of practice. From the start of the race, I could tell it was going to be a fight to the finish line. With every 50 meters it seemed like there was a new leader. As they sped through the bridge and rowed past the St. Joe boathouse, all boats were within one boat length of each other. Move after move was taken as each boat jockeyed for position. It wasn’t until about the 1300m point when the field began to separate. As the boats moved in near the grandstands, I pedaled my bike around to the finish to get a view of sprints. Unfortunately Michigan was able to edge us out. Although the boat was disappointed with their result they were very pleased with the race. They all knew they just rowed their best race all year and were happy to send some seniors off with a great race.