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The Radcliffe crew lost a close race to an impressive Vesper eight, the defending national champions, on Saturday at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester.
Radcliffe led during the first 500 meters of the 100-meter race, contested in rough waters and against a strong headwind, but Vesper pulled back ahead to win in a very slow time of 4:18.
"Something happened at 500 meters--I don't know what," Gerett Olmsted, the 'Cliffe coach, said last night, "Vesper jumped out ahead but Radcliffe was moving back on them in the last 30 strokes," he said.
The Cliffe boat lost by three seconds, with MIT, Worcester Polytech, Connecticut College and Williams finishing far behind.
"I think they could have rowed a lot better -- they should have beat that boat." Olmsted said. "Still, three of our girls hadn't rowed in a race before."
Olmsted said the "Cliffe crew was somewhat out of condition and hampered by a 41-minute delay in cold weather and the necessity of using a borrowed boat.
The triumphant Vesper crew was basically the same group that won the nationals last year.
Radcliffe's next race is Saturday on the Charles, against powerhouses; Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.
The 'Cliffe crew consisted of Charlotte Crane at stroke, Martha McDaniel at seven, Dotty Horn at six, Julie Meck at five, Sarah Wood at four, Debbie weil at three, Judy Levine at two and Cathy Barbash at bow.
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