The Black and White Varsity Eight is usually accustomed to racing in dual competition, but yesterday’s Princeton Chase, a head race hosted by Princeton University, gave the rowers of the Radcliffe 1V a chance to test themselves over a three-mile stretch of Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J.
The event, which draws crews from across the collegiate rowing circuit and features both men’s and women’s races, comes just one week after the Head of the Charles Regatta and offered the Black and White’s lightweight squad a second opportunity to compete in an event focused solely on intercollegiate rowers.
“The conditions were perfect. It was warm and sunny, great especially compared to last weekend when we had snow,” freshman Liz Hamilton said.
Yale carried the day in the women’s varsity eight race, coming in first place with a finishing time of 14:46.323, while the Black and White clocked in at 16:06.052.
The Black and White’s split time came in at 9:09.899.
This finish put Radcliffe just seconds behind the Georgetown C Lightweight Boat, which crossed the line with a time of 16:03.419.
“There were a lot of strong boats in the field,” Hamilton said. “It’s a competitive event, but I think we stacked up against them pretty well.”
Radcliffe, racing in the women’s varsity heat along with many other heavyweight boats, finished in 21st place out of a total of 55 boats in the team’s only race of the day.
“It is a different race mentality. It’s longer. You’re not directly lining up against other boats, and you’re racing the clock,” Hamilton said.
“When you finish the race, you don’t necessarily know who has won, and you have to focus on having a great race for yourself.”
Unlike the way many other crews approached this competition, the Black and White did not send a second varsity eight or any novice boats. Given the sheer number of boats involved, a strategic shift is also needed to find success in this type of event.
“Our plan was to attack the race right off the start. We were hoping to hold them off from the start, which we did very well,” Hamilton said.
The fall season finishes up with two more competitions, a novice race at Dartmouth on Nov. 7 and the Foot of the Charles on the following weekend.
“I think we’re getting a lot stronger, and we think it will only get better from here to it,” Hamilton said.
—Staff writer Robert T. Hamlin can be reached at email@example.com.