April 2, 2001

Crews Open Spring Season

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The Cornell rowing program enjoyed a successful opening weekend of racing at Cayuga Inlet. The men’s heavyweight team swept aside Michigan in five different races, while the women posted wins in all four races against George Washington. The lightweight men’s team didn’t fare as well, being blanked by a strong Navy team.

Having trained indoors for much of the inhospitable Ithaca winter, the rowing teams were raring to go.

“Even though it was cold and windy and miserable, it was much nicer to be outdoors,” said men’s heavyweight coach Dan Roock. “It’s only been two weeks out in the water, but it’s better than the alternative.”

Melanie Onufrieff, coach of the women’s team was also happy to get on the water for the first time this spring.

“It was about time to start racing,” she said.

That enthusiasm translated into a strong performance from the crews in the races on Saturday morning.

The men’s heavyweight team defeated Michigan in both varsity boats, as well as in the three freshman boats. The first varsity team produced the most emphatic victory with a time of 5:58.8, 12.3 seconds over its Wolverine counterparts. The Red exerted its dominance in each ensuing race, with the smallest margin of victory being four seconds.

Roock was happy with his team’s outing as a whole, but was especially impressed by the first varsity boat.

“That crew just kept its speed,” he noted.

The lightweights were unfortunate to open their season against some powerful opposition from Annapolis, Md. Although the Red’s first varsity boat lost by only 3.1 seconds, and the second varsity boat by a mere .8 seconds, the men from Navy took the other three races convincingly to complete the sweep.

On the women’s side, the Red’s rowers proved to be too fast for their opponents from George Washington. The second freshman boat set the pace with a whopping 18.7 second victory in the first women’s race, and it was followed by equally impressive performances from the other boats. In the second varsity race, two Cornell boats took part, both finishing ahead of George Washington’s entry.

The races were not only a welcome change to the indoor training but also provided chances for members of the different teams to impress their coaches.

“A race is a great opportunity to see how people perform,” admitted Roock.

Onufrieff also left the door open for many team members to show what they can do.

“Lineups are never set,” she said. “There are people who improve all the time, and there’s always an opportunity to move up.”

The Red will hit the water again next Saturday to build on this weekend’s success. On the men’s side, the heavyweights take on Georgetown and the lightweights travel to Philadelphia to face Harvard and Penn. The women will stay home to host Yale and Syracuse.

Archived article by Soo Kim