The Radcliffe crew team knocked out its opponents in the annual Syracuse/Dartmouth race in Hanover, N.H., on Saturday. The varsity eight finished with a current-aided 6:10.7, four seconds ahead of second-place Syracuse and open water ahead of lagging Dartmouth.
The race turned out to be more of a challenge than the women in black had expected. Syracuse, which is not usually a strong team, put up a fight that kept Radcliffe pulling full-force at its oars until the end of the race.
Radcliffe came off the starting line powerfully, picking up six seats on the other crews before settling to race cadence. By the 500-meter mark, Dartmouth fell considerably behind, opening up the waters for a battle between Radcliffe and Syracuse.
"We took the 'Radcliffe Twenty' at the 1000-meter mark, but nothing happened," junior Rachel Greene said. "We picked up a few seats but they came right back and gained a few seats on us. We were expecting Syracuse to be decent, but we didn't realize it would be such a tight race."
Not expecting a very tough race, the Radcliffe crews trained through the week, not tapering as they usually do for Saturday race. After doing 10 sprint pieces during a Friday workout, the varsity team went into the race a little tired.
The Current on the unfamiliar river also threw Radcliffe a little off course. Though Radcliffe never let the other crews creep too close, the Radcliffe boats themselves has a tendency to creep directly towards their opponents. The water was deceptively calm, hiding a coxswaim's nightmare of a cross-current.
"It was really disquienting," Greene said of the current. "We were excited because the water looked so much flatter than the Charles usually does. But we ended up zig-zagging all over the place, and Maye [Chen] was forced to do a lot of steering."
While the heavyweight crews tore up the river in New Hampshire, the varsity lightweight four continued its undefeated season by posting a victory at Worcester. Radcliffe finished with open water ahead of three other schools: Connecticut College, University of Albany and Holy Cross.
"We had a slightly shaky start, but it went great," stroke Laurisa Shappell said. "We switched the lineup around this week and it really made a difference."