The Hoyas had a strong start to the season with the past two weekends of racing! If you want to check out the official results or releases, read all about it on the team’s website. On March 28 in 34 degrees and 15mph+ wind, UNC and West Virginia lined up against the entire Hoya squad for five races to compete for the Class of 2006 Cup. Thankfully, for the fourth straight year in a row, the Cup remains in our possession thanks to a well-executed race in the Varsity Eight, despite only having been on the water a week. The 2V8 also had a gutsy race, being down a little at the thousand and crushing the third 500m and sprint to clinch a victory. In the VL8, 3V8 and V4: we have some major work to do in these crews. With more water time, the youngest athletes are going to see the most improvement. Racing is always helpful as it reveals our strengths and weaknesses, directing our efforts as we move forward.
This past Saturday, April 4, dawned warmer but windier for the Class of 2004 Cup race against the Harvard-Radcliffe lightweights, last year’s national champions. After much hemming and hawing (and a trip out in the launch to assess the safety of the course with the Radcliffe Lightweight Coach, Lou Berl), we decided it was safe to race the eights only. Athletes warmed up on land entirely, rowed to the start, spun and did a floating start to race 2,000m. To say that we rowed that day is a bit of an understatement; it seemed more like surfing in boats.
In spite of the wild conditions, Georgetown had a clean, aggressive and sharp start, with senior captain Maggie Rush guiding the VL8 through whitecaps and rollers. The G130s led to the 600m mark where Radcliffe put the heat on with a move, and unfortunately, we broke and were unable to maintain contact. The move was called, but the response wasn’t unified. Due to the wind and the sun, the RVL coxswain merged over into our lane after the thousand and we rowed in their wash bow to stern for several hundred meters, and while this was unhelpful, it didn’t change the result. The overall margin at the end was 10 seconds between the crews, which is an improvement over last year, but certainly not a reflection of this crew’s potential, and therefore, unsatisfactory.
Thankfully, the fight in this year’s lightweight crew is strong, and I can tell they won’t let this be a trend. The G130s left the Potomac with a clear idea of the areas we need to improve. The wonderful thing is that this year’s crew is certainly different: they understand that they can’t gloss over the stuff they didn’t like in an effort to make the experience positive. They face the hard stuff and will keep facing it until it gets better. We’re certainly not sugar-coating anything.
The camaraderie at the boathouse and on the team is awesome to watch. We’ve had many practices now with all three varsity crews just duking it out for inches or seats in ways we haven’t had before. I’ve told the team I’ve been waiting almost four years now to see this level of intensity and depth. We need to see it more. I am deeply grateful for the hard work done by my assistant coaches, Steve Full and Jen Forbes, to help recruit and retain great people. I’m thankful for a team who is welcoming and full of family warmth, yet who doesn’t lose sight of the fact that their primary form of showing respect is to beat each other up on the water as hard as they can every day.
I’m thrilled to see the men’s teams doing well against their respective competitors this past weekend as well, in particular to see the win for the heavy men over Temple after a narrow loss to Drexel. It’s a privilege to have such great fellow coaches around the boathouse in Luke and Giuseppe and their staff.
What’s next? The lightweights head to the Knecht Cup on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ, this weekend. The openweights face Navy, Dayton and St. Joe’s at the GW Invite on Friday and Saturday. Race times will be posted on the website. We look forward to christening the “Never Row, Women ’99” shell at 4:30 p.m. this coming Saturday at TBC and hope you will be able to join us.
Thank you all for the ways you support, encourage and enable our success. We are so thankful!