Oarswomen Sweep Past MIT, UMass
Varsity Heavies Win by 27 Seconds; Lights by 29 Seconds
As the Radcliffe shells pulled in to the Weld Boathouse dock yesterday morning, the first question the rowers were asked by their teammates was not "Who won?" but rather, "By how much?"
The answer, invariably was, "A lot," as the heavyweight, lightweight and novice crews all annihilated the MIT and the UMass boats by 14 or more seconds in their respective season-opening races.
"I am really impressed," Radcliffe Coach Liz O'Leary said. "I love to see everybody win. There's nothing better than to start off the season with everybody getting that feeling."
The varsity heavyweight eight copped the second biggest Black and White margin of the day, beating UMass (7:12.2) and MIT (7:17.0) by 27 and 32 seconds respectively, in the time of 6:50.1.
The heavies led off setting to a 35-stroke rating and racing the majority of the regatta at 33 1/2. By the 500-meter mark, Radcliffe was a length ahead of the Engineers and was able to continuously move away from the other two crews in the remaining 1500 meters to finish five lengths ahead of the UMass boat.
"This week was a dress rehearsal for Redwood Shores [next weekend's west coast regatta]," heavyweight Captain Juliet Thompson said. "Last year, we raced MIT at a 30 [stroke rating], went to Redwood Shores and were overstroked, so this year, even though we were lengths ahead of MIT, we wanted to stick to the race plan."
The Black and White's 6:50.1 time yesterday was six seconds faster than Washington University's winning time in the San Diego Crew Classic last week. The Huskies are the defending champions of Redwood Shores, as well as two-time NCAA defending champs.
"You can never compare the times of two different races," O'Leary said. "There were pretty optimum conditions today, so it just means that we're in there [with Washington]. But you never know if you're faster than another crew until you beat them."
The varsity lightweight eight only was matched against one opponent, MIT, and even then they did not have a chance to get a good look at them.
The lights garnered the biggest Radcliffe margin of the day, deprogramming the Engineers (7:48.5) with a 29-second margin and a 7:29.3 time.
Radcliffe was two seats ahead of MIT after the first 10 strokes of the race, quickly opening up and gaining open water by the 500-meter mark. From that point on, the lights were basically racing against the clock.
"I told them that if they started to open up, they better open up every 500," lightweight Coach Holly Metcalf said. "The goal if they were ahead was to follow the race plan, move consistently and not get lulled. Only between the 500- and 750-meter mark did it get a little jellylike. I was happy with the race."
THE NOTEBOOK: The lightweights face Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., next week, racing in two lightweight fours...While the first varsity heavyweight boat will be racing in the Redwood Shores Regatta, the rest of the heavies, joined by a few lights on the third boat, will be rowing against the Big Red and Princeton in Ithaca.