Despite conditions of no sailboats interfering, no frosty temperatures, and no wind, the Radcliffe lightweight crew finished six seconds behind arch-rival Boston University early Saturday morning on the Charles.
"In some ways it was a perfect race," Kristen Laine, six seat, said. "You'll never see conditions that good again. It was incredible, and we had a really good warm-up. We wanted to beat B.U. badly because they beat us in the Nationals last year. We wanted to show our supremacy again."
But it didn't work out that way. Instead, the Terriers capitalized on a quicker start and a weak middle 500 by the Crimson oarswomen, cruising across the end line in 5:27.7 and leaving open water in front of the Crimson, who finished in a time of 5:34.0.
Grabbing a two-seat advantage off the start, the B.U. lights settled down to a 35-stroke-per-minute cadence sooner than the already trailing Radcliffe crew. Cox Susie Peterson called for a silent power ten on the settle, moving the Crimson back within striking distance. However, B.U. pulled out to a length bulge in the second 500; and the Radcliffe team could not recover, although it moved up on the leaders in the final 250 meters, upping the cadence to 38 and sprinting the last 40 strokes.
The J.V. lights fared better, as did a special lightweight four boat. The J.V.s smoked the Smith varsity heavyweights by more than six seconds in a come-from-behind victory.
Later in the day, four J.V. members combined for the first time to put together their second win for the day. Bow Noreen Hughes, two seat Lauren Blum, three seat Cathy Vance, and stroke Kate Heller finished just under seven seconds ahead of the Smith team, despite Heller's inexperience as a stroke.
In the wake of Saturday's defeat, coach Peter Huntsman began seat races yesterday morning that will continue for most of the week. "There is certainly the possibility of some changes in the varsity boat," Huntsman said. "But even if the same eight people stay on the boat, I think they will be faster because of the seat racing and better able to race."
Senior captain Peterson cited lack of experience and "varsity jitters" as team problems. "When you don't have confidence that you belong on the varsity, it's hard to worry about anything more than your own rowing."
The Crimson hopes to work out some kinks by next weekend when they will face Williams, Dartmouth and Cornell.