The Red will compete in its last league race of the season against Ivy foe Dartmouth.
The men’s lightweight rowing team is primed to compete in its last league race of the season this weekend. Racing in a duel match against Dartmouth, the Red ultimately plans to use the race as preparation for the Eastern Sprints, its league championship, on May 13. Michael Szymoniak ’12, coxin of the varsity 8, said that having a race every Saturday has allowed the team to track their progress and see if they are going forwards or backwards in terms of performance. Head Coach Christopher Kerber echoed this sentiment.
“We race every Saturday in April, and each of these prepares us for our league championship in May and ultimately our national championship on June 2,” Kerber said.
Kerber and Szymoniak said the competition this weekend will be a challenge, but serves as a useful tool for assessment and improvement. According to the U.S. National Rowing Poll released yesterday, Dartmouth is currently ranked second in the league and the Red is ranked fifth. Szymoniak said that the outcome of crew races is subject to a great deal of variability from race to race, regardless of a team’s ranking and abilities.
“I would say it’s going to be a close match start to finish,” Michael Szymoniak ‘12 said. “It’s never an easy race, whether the team is ranked at the top or bottom. We don’t take anything for granted.”
The varsity 8 season currently has a record of 4-2, with wins against Columbia, MIT, Penn, and Princeton and losses against Harvard and Yale. Szymoniak said that the season has been up and down, and though the Red had a big loss to Harvard at the beginning of the season, it built up speed to defeat Columbia and MIT in Boston last Saturday.
“We have some good momentum going into this weekend,” he said.
In all the Saturday races, the ultimate goal for the Red has been to prepare for the league championship. Szymoniak said that the team does not really approach any matches differently because the sport is very internal. He said the Red produces its own speed, a
variable usually independent of the actions of other teams.
“We use the regular season and the dual matches as a gage of speed and testing, perfecting, and optimizing our race,” Kerber said.
A total of ten schools compete in the league championships, which require the team to modify strategies to encompass precision and perfection. Kerber said the racing mechanisms are altered for the league championship due to the mechanical change from two boat races during league races to five boat races during the championships.
“You have five crews that you’re facing when you competes, and you have to execute it perfectly,” said Kerber. “When everyone’s pushing for the finish line, anything can happen. That’s what makes the league races so extraordinary.”
The Red is looking forward to the opportunity that the league race this weekend brings and the upcoming league championships to show the team’s skills. Though finals week is approaching, Kerber said the Red still puts in maximum effort toward the championships.
“The guys get really excited,” said Kerber. “The league championship is really the ultimate test, and the guys rise to the occasion. It’s definitely going to test our skill and our race acumen at the highest level.”