NEW LONDON, Conn.--A powerful Yale women's varsity heavyweight eight sunk the Radcliffe crew's hopes for an upset yesterday on the Thames River in New London, Conn., scoring a solid seven-second victory over the varsity in a two-mile affair.
Defending their newly-won Eastern championship title taken last week in Worcester, Yale jumped off the stakeboats and took a quick two-seat lead that they were to never relinquish. After thirty strokes Radcliffe hit a stretch of bad water caused by a series of wakes in their lane, and that encounter set them a full length off the pace. "That rough water was a real tough break, one they didn't deserve," coach Peter Raymond said after the race.
Radcliffe never seemed to regroup, and Yale, matching their cadence at a solid 36 strokes per minute, began to widen the margin. By the mile mark the gap was almost two lengths, and with only half a mile remaining it was closer to three.
There, 'Cliffe stroke Wiki Royden cranked the cadence up to a 38, and Radcliffe slowly began to close to within striking distance. But with twenty strokes remaining, Yale also sprinted and easily staved off the 'Cliffe's last challenge.
The loss was Radcliffe's first regular season defeat in four and a half years, and only their second in history. In the interim, they have lost only two Sprint titles.
"We expected Yale to take us on the start, and then we expected to row through them on the settle--like last week. But we couldn't in that water," number six Gail Rasmussen said after the race.
"We thought Yale would be there the whole way, and so we planned to move by with a strong and silent power ten in the last half mile," number three Cynthia Strong said yesterday.
'Robin, You're Late'
"But we got off on the wrong foot. It was one of those nightmares," Strong added.
Radcliffe took numerous power tens during the first half mile in a vain attempt to get themselves out of the treacherous water, but it was to no avail. "We wanted to be with them to make a move on them in that third mile--but after that wake, they were gone," Strong said.
The J.V. heavyweights finished their undefeated season with a strong 22-second victory over an outgunned Yale crew.
Last week the mighty J.V. maintained their record of no losses in their history with a strong finish which provided them with a resounding length and a half victory over an over-tough Wisconsin eight. "Last week was superb; this week was good," Julie Cobb said last night.
"We moved out on the start, and then we just sat on it there. And then, at the mile mark, Terrie (McLaughlin) said, 'let's get the hell out of here.' And then we started to move," Karen Spencer said last night.
Radcliffe, ahead by a narrow length at the mile mark, was the beneficiary of a Yale miscue, as Yale's number four oarswoman caught a boat-stopping crab. After that, the J.V. just kept moving out away from the hapless Elis.
The novice heavyweight eight, after an erratic season, closed out their season with a satisfying two-length victory over a tough Yale eight.
'They Just Got Tired Faster'
"We were down by a length at the mile mark, but there we just blew 'em away. And there we knew we could win," coxswain Rekha Nimgade said after the race.
Last week at the Sprints an errant sailboat crossed the novice's path in the finals, costing them a shot at a respectable finish. This week, Nimgade's power effective, for the eight responded by picking up and driving by a fading Yale boat.
"The great thing was that at the beginning of the season a lot of people lacked confidence in themselves. But now I really think they really believe in themselves," Cathy Dement said yesterday.
"The basic gist of the race is simple: we just beat the hell out of them," said Candy Hooper yesterday.
The Radcliffe varsity lightweight four was originally scheduled to race Yale's strong heavyweight novice four, but Yale unfortunately cancelled the contest on Saturday morning.