Hoping to build on the results of their opening races, the Radcliffe heavyweight and lightweight crews both saw action this past weekend, with very different outcomes.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Boston College, the heavyweight crew was hoping to redeem itself with a strong showing at Brown this past weekend.
Instead of bouncing back, however, Radcliffe was dealt a decisive loss on the Seekonk River, finishing a full 20 seconds behind the Bears time of 6:08.
Despite the large margin of defeat, the rowers remain upbeat that their performance will only improve with time.
"Coming off last week's race and a week of training, I thought we pulled together and had a more complete race," senior captain Cary Donaldson said. "Any improvement is a good sign."
Radcliffe did show signs of life over the first 1000 meters of the race, holding its own with a Brown crew that is regarded as one of the country's fastest and that dealt defending national champion Princeton a loss last weekend.
The final 1000 meters saw the heavyweights fall apart, however, a fact that Donaldson attributes largely to the boat's inexperience rowing together and lack of training at the 2000-meter level.
"Before this weekend's race, we'd rowed together twice with our lineup," she said. "Usually we gain a lot of speed over the course of the season."
The heavyweights will have an opportunity to show their improvement when they face Brown in next month's Eastern Sprints, the culmination of their season.
Before that race, however, Radcliffe must focus on a challenging upcoming schedule.
The heavyweights travel to Atlanta next Saturday to face Oxford, Cambridge and Yale, before returning home on Sunday for an important dual meet with Cornell and Princeton.
The lightweights continued the momentum started by their second-place finish at the San Diego Crew Classic with a victory over UMass-Amherst in Cambridge.
The Radcliffe A boat, consisting of senior Laura Brookins, senior captain Sophie Bryan, junior Elizabeth Yellin, junior Layla Adolphson and sophomore coxswain Catherine Malone, finished 15 seconds in front of the Umass A boat with a time of 7:41.
"There was a really strong tailwind on the Charles, which made for a pretty rocky race," Bryan said. "We worked well together and showed controlled technique, but we still need to work on our power application.
The A boat was in control of the race from the start, jumping out to a quick lead and pulling away with spurts at 750 and 1250 meters.
The B boat also had a strong race, finishing in third place and decisively beating its UMass counterpart.
"We were pleased, but we still have a lot of growing to do," Yellin said. "We really need a whole season to learn how to do well together."
The lightweights return to action next Sunday, when they take on Wellesley in Cambridge.
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