Men's Crew | Jumbos finish middle-of-the-pack in Textile Regatta
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 01:10
Despite getting off to a quick start, the men’s varsity eight lost energy halfway through its 3.6-mile race to take sixth place among 13 entries and fourth among college boats at this weekend’s Textile Regatta in Lowell, Mass.
According to sophomore coxswain Kasia Gawlas, the team had trouble holding up stamina after being passed by Union Boat Club at the two-mile marker, but still had a strong showing.
“We did well for a first race,” Gawlas said. “The first half was a lot better than the second but it was not bad for a first race.”
The regatta was a head race, in which boats enter the race course staggered, with about 20 seconds in between each boat. At about the halfway point, Union, the team that started directly behind Tufts, caught up to the Jumbos and overtook them. For the Jumbos, there was a significant drop in morale after the Union boat passed them, which was a real turning point in race.
“We lost control and focus, we were heavy in the water and we couldn’t get back in,” Gawlas said. “Our minds were too much on the end of the race and not the fact that we were still in it.”
The Jumbos finished with a time of 20:08.146 to earn sixth place, approximately 45 seconds behind the first-place Wesleyan boat. The Union boat that passed Tufts came in second, followed by the Wesleyan B-boat, RIT, and the River Side Boat Club.
Meanwhile, the women’s novice eight, who also competed in the Textile Regatta, finished first out of six boats. They passed four boats on their way down the course and managed to hold off second-place finisher Wesleyan with a sprint at the end of the race that put 15 seconds between the Jumbos and the Cardinals.
But despite the disappointing finish for the men’s team, Gawlas believes that there was still a silver lining to the race. She said that the team maintained good boat speed and technique early on and was able to pull off a solid stroke ratio throughout the race.
“I was most impressed by us from the get go,” she said. “We had crisp catches in the first mile, held pressure and the boat had good run.”
Although water and wind conditions make it difficult to compare times between regattas, coach Jay Britt said that this year’s showing was an improvement from last year’s performance based on the percentage of time off from first-place.
According to Britt, the feat was particularly impressive because of the relative inexperience of the eight rowers on the water. Five were sophomores, and two had never rowed a head race before, Britt said. For these newer rowers, understanding the distance of the head race will help for upcoming races.
“It was a learning experience for them, something they can build on for the Snake Regatta,” said Britt. “Now that they’ve had their first head race they’ve kind of caught up to the other guys in the boat.”
Britt also stressed the importance of the upperclassmen rowers, particularly senior co-captain Kyle Flood, who rowed seventh seat on Sunday behind sophomore Sam Helrich, who stroked his first head race.
“They are good leaders and they have a great understanding of what it takes to row hard,” Britt said. “We’re young and strong, with the leadership we have I think that will go very well for us come spring.”
Tufts had originally entered a second men’s eight into the race, but had to scratch at the last minute because they could not find an experienced coxswain. Several of the upperclassman rowers are abroad this fall season, most notably one of the coxswains, whose absence has made it difficult for all of the men to get on the water this fall, according to Britt.
If both new coxswains are prepared to hit the water by Oct. 13, the team expects to see multiple Tufts boats on Lake Quinsigamond, where the Jumbos plan to compete in the Snake Regatta in Worcester, Mass.
“We have two new coxswains but they hadn’t been on the water long enough to participate in this week’s regatta,” Britt said. “But their learning curve is pretty steep so we’re hoping that they’ll have mastered the art of coxing well enough that we can have all boats in the Snake.”