Overcoming blustery winds, choppy conditions, and first-race jitters, the Radcliffe crew burst into the Spring rowing season Saturday, outclassing an inexperienced Syracuse squad in both four-and eight-oared competition on the Charles River Basin.
It didn't take long for the Radcliffe eight to scuttle any hopes for an upset that Syracuse might have entertained. The 'Cliffe squad, featuring five freshmen (including cox), jumped to a quick deck-length lead in the first five strokes as the Syracuse eight caught a crab at the start.
From there it was no contest. At 500 meters Radcliffe had a 16 second lead (roughly four lengths) which increased to 24 seconds by the end of the 1000-meter course. Radcliffe finished with a good 4:15 clocking.
Tour de Force
"The eights race was just a tour de force for Radcliffe," coach John Baker said yesterday. "We jumped out to an early lead and never let up."
Despite the fact that Syracuse has only been rowing for a little over a year and has been on the water for only two-and-one-half weeks, Baker was pleased with the Radcliffe showing. "We learned a lot out there," he said. "This should indicate what we will have to work on to become a serious national contender in women's crew."
The fours competition was bizarre (to say the least) and a good fairy must have been watching over the Radcliffe fortune. The 'Cliffe took first and second, with 4:32 and 4:35 times for the 1000 meters.
For starters, one Radcliffe boat got tangled up in the Mass Ave Bridge at the start and lost nearly 15 seconds before the race was even under way. Then, at 700 meters, the Syracuse boat inexplicably hung a right at Joyce Chen's restaurant on the banks of the Charles, allowing both Radcliffe boats to pass, before getting back on the course.
The unfortunate Radcliffe boat that started so inauspiciously, made what Baker called "an incredible comeback" to close within a length of the first 'Cliffe unit. "They sprinted all the way," Baker said yesterday. "It was a beautiful race."
Rowing in the eight for Radcliffe were Ann Robinson (bow), Charlotte Crane (2), Debbie Harrington (3), Kathy Sullivan (4), Jenny Getsinger (5), Lillian Hunt (6), Alison Hill (7), Ginny Smith (Stroke) and Nancy Hadley (cox).
The winning Radcliffe four featured Diane Coggin (bow), Joan Aron (2), Joan Borthwick (3), Katy Moss (stroke), and Nancy Hadley (cox).