The Radcliffe lightweight crew team opened its 1985 season with a first-place finish in the San Diego Crew Classic on Mission Bay in San Diego.
The eight won the 1500-meter race, 13 seconds and two poat-lengths ahead of the second place finishers from the University of California--San Diego.
"It was a good chance for us to feel out the Western competition," said coxswain Helen Lee. "We pulled out early and rowed our own race."
The race was originally scheduled to be 2000 meters long, but due to a sewer leak on Mission Bay, the course was shortened to 1500 meters. Western teams traditionally row 1000-meter races, however, so the extra 500 meters benefited, the oar women anyway.
"We have much better endurance than the Western teams," L ee added. "Our training and the fact that we had set our minds to win really showed."
The women had to compete in a heat before the finals, which was a new experience for them. "We rowed our own strategy. This just shows the strength of the Eastern lightweights," Lee said.
The Tough Guys
Lee was to the fact that the Black and White's toughest competition this year figures to come from Eastern powerhouse. Smith College and the University of Pennsylvania, both of whom the lights face in separate meets later this month.
The Black and White was the only Eastern squad participating in the event, so the oars women have yet to match themselves against the nation's strongest competition.
This year's squad has six returning letter winners from the 1984 team which went 3-0, winning the Eastern Sprints and taking second at the National Championships.