W. Crew Recovers From 'Nightmare' Season
Coach Liz O'Leary didn't exactly have to break any bones to motivate Radcliffe's first varsity heavyweight rowers this year.
Nightmares from last year's depressing 0-5 season was motivation enough for a team which spent this year largely fighting the respect.
At first, the team's performance seemed strangely familiar. Setting off on a rough start, both Radcliffe varsity boats were mauled by the Brown in the season-opener by deficits as a large as ten seconds.
But Crimson resolve finally picked up a week later, when the first varsity boat pulled a second-place finish behind the perennial Princeton juggernaut at the Princeton-Cornell-Radcliffe regatta.
By the end of the season, the Crimson had reasserted itself as a legitimate contender, finishing fourth out of six at the Eastern Sprints race in Connecticut.
The finish erased painful memories of last year's abysmal seventh-place performance. The fight back to dignity was not catalyzed by new blood, but by the same verteran crew that had struggled though last year.
Earlier highlights of the season included a first-place victory at a Dartmouth-Syracuse meet and a full shut-out of Northeastern in mid- April.
And in races against Yale and Boston University, Radcliffe's first varsity boat lost by difference as little as one second, outright victories.
As the heavyweight picked up their pieces, Radcliffe's lightweight crew continued their spritely trips across the fish line.
The lightweights began the season with a respectable third-place finish behind Villanova and Fordham, in the competitive San Diego Crew Classic, viewed by many as a modern proving groups for top crew teams.
After stumbling briefly against Boston College, the crew bounced back strongly against Simmons and Boston University. The lights were particularly dominating in the second race, beating BU by four boat lengths.
These regattas provided the team with valuable momentum going into Easterns, and they took advantage of it. At Easterns, in one of its top regattas of the year, the team finished better than its heavyweight teammates and qualified for the National Collegiate Championships to be held Cincinnati on June 10-11.
Record: 4-4; L:4-1
Ivy League: H 2-2; L: 1-0
Key Players: Tilde Hayek, Julie Copaken, Hallie Gillman
Seniors: Julie Copaken, Julie Damon, Alexa Kemeny, Sarah Kurtin, Melissa McSherry, Kathryn Patton, Jodi Prins, Noelle Tune, Willy Ulbrich