For most of us here at Harvard, the week following Spring Break is the time when we reluctantly set aside our fond vacation memories and begin tackling the work we face for the second half of the semester.
For the Radcliffe heavyweights, Spring Break’s end marks the end of winter training and the beginning of the long and grueling spring rowing season.
This Saturday, the Black and White heavyweights will host their first regatta of the spring season on the Charles River against local schools including MIT, Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern in the 6th Annual Beanpot Regatta. As in several years past, Radcliffe held winter training in Florida and returned well-conditioned to face the challenges of the spring season.
“We had a really great time in Florida,” junior rower Scout Moran said. “We enjoyed all of the time we were able to spend on the water and it was also an awesome opportunity for us to get to know the freshmen and have some team bonding.”
Unlike previous season in which the Beanpot was featured near the end of the Black and White’s regular season, this year the regatta will serve as the season opener. Despite this switch up in scheduling, the Radcliffe heavyweights are excited about the opportunity presented.
“Typically the Beanpot is our end-of-season race, but this year it’s in the beginning,” senior coxswain Jill Carlson said. “In every Beanpot, all of the Boston schools bring their best competition to the Charles, so this year it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get some early season racing experience for the entire team.”
In last year’s regatta, the Black and White continued its dominance of the local competition, with the 1V and 2V boats each finishing first to capture the squad’s fourth Beanpot title.
During last year’s varsity eight race, Radcliffe quickly distanced itself from the field, opening up a sizeable gap from the very beginning. By the race’s end, the Black and White 1V had eviscerated its opponents, winning by 8.1 seconds. The 2V finished even farther ahead of its field, winning with a commanding 12.8-second lead.
Yet despite its historic command of the Charles against local foes, Radcliffe remains cautiously optimistic of its chances this weekend.
“We’ve put in a lot of training and preparation for the Beanpot, but you don’t know what you are going to get until you are on the starting line,” Moran said. “We have a lot of respect for our competition, so we are just going to race our hardest this weekend. That’s all we can do, since we can’t control the speed of the other boats.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s first test of the spring season, the Black and White looks to build upon its success during the fall season.
In its fall regattas, Radcliffe took second at the Head of the Housatonic, second at the Head of the Charles, and first at the Foot of the Charles. At the Head of the Charles, the Black and White emerged as the top Ivy boat to finish in the marquee Championship Eights, coming in seconds behind winners UVA.
“Our races in the fall were really exciting,” Moran said. “We had some awesome wins which have really motivated us during winter training. We’ve been working throughout winter to get faster and to make up the margin between us and other teams.”
After the Beanpot, Radcliffe will face a string of Ivy challenges on the road, beginning with a head-to-head race against Brown in Providence, R.I., later this month.
“[Ivy] teams in general are really fast and fierce, which makes it more exciting to race against them,” Moran said. “In our upcoming race against Brown, both sides have some really strong eights, so we are going to have some really tight racing.”
In April, the Black and White will line up against the triple threat of Columbia, Cornell, and Princeton for the Class of 1975 Cup in Princeton, N.J., and later against Dartmouth and Yale at the O’Leary Cup and Case Cup, respectively.
Radcliffe heavyweights will conclude their regular season in Columbus, Ohio, against the highly-touted UVA and Ohio State squads.
“We are really looking forward to racing both UVA and OSU,” Moran said. “We don’t normally race UVA during our regular season, but this is going to be a great opportunity for all of us to travel as a team. And if you ask anyone on the team they’ll tell you that they are just so stoked to race against both of these teams.”
—Staff writer Oluwatoni A. Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.