Men's Crew | Varsity shows improvement from last year, novice crews come out strong
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 07:10
The Tufts crew program came out in full force with five eights at this weekend’s Quinsigamond Snake Regatta in Worcester, Mass. showing not only the depth of the team, but also the quality. The men’s top varsity boat came in 10th out of 27 teams while the second varsity eight came in 23rd. Meanwhile, both the men’s and women’s novice squads were also in action, as the novice men also competed in the same event, and the novice women fielded two boats in the open women’s eights race.
The first men’s varsity boat has seen improvement since tackling this race last year, when it came in 14th place. Despite narrowing the margin of time between themselves and the top place boat, the men still saw some room for progress.
According to coach Jay Britt, the squad took the race a little too cautiously and can afford to bring the rating up higher in future races. The men took the race at around 31 strokes−per−minute, which is around the same pace they took at the Textile Regatta earlier this season despite the fact that this weekend’s race was on a significantly shorter course.
The team jumped on the higher ratings during their first practice after the race and hopes to row comfortably at a higher rating for the Head of the Fish in two weeks.
“The race was a step in the right direction in what our goals are for this fall,” Britt said. “[We want] to get stronger in our aerobic base so we can build on it over the winter and be faster on it come spring time.”
According to Director of Rowing Gary Caldwell, seeing such improvement from last year’s times this early in the season is impressive for the sophomore−dominated squad.
“We are really pleased with the progress that the young varsity squad is making,” he said. “In the short run it means that we may not show early speed, but in the long run it gives us room to make significant progress. That we are this good this early is a really good sign.”
Men’s varsity was able to field two boats in this regatta because of the efforts of freshman coxswain Maria Karam, who started coxing three weeks ago. In addition to this weekend being Karam’s first race, there were also two novices in the boat filling in for injured rowers. Britt believes that the varsity rowers in the boat did a good job adjusting to these setbacks and thinks that the boat did well, all things considered.
“It’s a different race for a novice to hop in the boat and row at the higher rate with everyone,” he said. “Kudos to them for doing so well.”
Meanwhile, the men’s novice squad came in close behind the second varsity eight to finish in 25th place.
The women’s novice raced against 50 other boats, many of whom were the top varsity boats from strong rowing programs. The experienced women’s novice eight finished in 15th place, coming in first among novices and third in varsity eights and beating many of the second varsity eights. The second novice boat came in 34th, a huge improvement from last year’s dead−last finish.
“I am extremely happy with not only the results from the two novice crews at the Snake, but I’m more pleased with the daily energy and commitment all 20 are showing in time at the boathouse every single day,” Caldwell said. “Results speak of commitment and work ethic.”
The novice squad will row again at Lake Quinsigamond in two weeks, while the varsity men will travel to Saratoga Springs, New York, for what Britt describes as a more traditional race scene.
At the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs, each rower will race in multiple events, and Tufts will be fielding both eights and fours. Senior captain Kyle Flood will row a single. This will be the team’s last race of the fall season, and Britt is looking forward to it being highly competitive and a good opportunity for the men to bring the rating up over a shorter course.
Until then, all the squads are looking toward the informal Jumbo Head Regatta this coming weekend, an exhibition headrace for Parents and Family Weekend.