The women’s rowing team swept all six races against Dartmouth over the weekend at home, putting a successful end to the regular season. The Red claimed the Parents’ Cup with a victory in the first Varsity 8 boat — marking the first time the Red has won this race since 2005. The closest margin was in the second Varsity 8 race, in which Dartmouth lost by 1.4 seconds.
In the first Varsity 8 race, Dartmouth jumped ahead at the start; however, the women’s team was able to narrow the lead at the first turn and maintain the lead. The Red claimed the win with a time of 6:54.2 — narrowing out Dartmouth’s 7:01.8.
“We were catching up to them by the turn,” said junior Cecelia Madsen. “We were about level. The turn really allowed us to jump out ahead — it gives a psychological advantage to anyone on the inside of the turn.”
Dartmouth had been a formidable opponent in the past. Breaking Dartmouth’s five-year winning streak has proven that the women’s program is making strides and is improving from its previous seasons in relation to other teams in the conference, Madsen explains.
“Beating Dartmouth this year, when last year we did not, shows that we have become a faster team as a whole and that we are improving,” she said.
Additionally, besides winning the last regular season race of the year and defeating Dartmouth for the first time in five years, this race was significant because all the boats won their respective races. The strength of the women’s program extends to every boat, which is important because all boats must qualify in order to be eligible for the NCAA tournament.
“I think every boat has had a rough race somewhere in the season,” said junior coxswain Jeannie Friedman. “For each boat to come out and beat them — especially since some boats put together really close races and still came out ahead — really pushes us forward into something to work off of for the next two weeks.”
From the other side of the Boat House, the No. 5-ranked lightweight rowing team lost to No. 3 Dartmouth at home in the Baggaley Cup Regatta in its last dual race of the season. Cornell had decisive victories in both the second and third Varsity 8 boats, as well as the two Frosh boats; however, the team came up short of Dartmouth in the top Varsity 8 race for the first time since 2007. The boats had to overcome a stiff building headwind, which subsequently resulted in a larger margin in finishing times. Both Dartmouth and Cornell were unable to catch up to the boat that got the initial lead in any of the five races.
The lightweight team won the Geiger Cup against Columbia, marking its only win this season. Yet despite this seemingly positive outcome, all of the races have been fiercely contested. Since all lightweight teams are on an even playing field with their strength and size, the margins between winning and losing in the lightweight rowing division are small — there is no room for error. As far as the lack of wins this season, head coach Chris Kerber is not disheartened.
“In 2006, we lost every race,” he said. “These types of seasons happen and I’m confident we will be successful in the program in general as we close out this season.”
The team will be making some adjustments in the next two weeks to ensure a better outcome before travelling to Camden, N.J., for the Eastern Sprints, Kerber noted.
“All the races were good challenges that challenged us at each part of our race,” he said. “We are currently looking at a couple different lineups within the lineups and are trying to look at what we did the best during all the races — taking the best of all our races and trying to perfect that. Our season and league is incredibly competitive. Everyone weighs in the night before at the same weight, so the margins for error are very tight.”