October 13, 2006

Crews Battle for Annual Schwartz Cup on Cayuga Lake

Print More

If spandex-clad rowers wearing costumes and role-playing is what you’re into, the Cayuga Lake Inlet is where it’s at tomorrow morning. The entire Cornell fleet is back in action tomorrow at 9 a.m. as the men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight and women’s crews take to the water in the 19th annual Schwartz Cup Regatta.

The yearly intra-squad race is broken down into six competitive divisions, which include a varsity and freshman group for each team. The head coaches of each team keep an overall time compilation, but the eights race against one another within their group for the Schwartz Cup trophy.

“Traditionally, if every class can field it’s own boat we’ll break it down that way,” said senior heavyweight Chris Clark. “The boats usually turn out to be pretty even speed-wise anyway. This year we’ve got a senior boat, a sophomore boat, and a junior boat with two seniors in it.”

Besides the friendly intra-class regatta, Schwartz Cup also features a costume competition and a skit contest judged by the coaches and alumni of the rowing program. The regatta’s unique combination of athletics and the arts has its roots in the interests of its sponsors. Richard Schwartz ’60, a former Cornell crew member, contributes his love of rowing while his wife Jean contributes her passion for drama.

The boats begin the course in the inlet, race to a lighthouse on Cayuga Lake and return to the starting line. The 5K race is much longer than the 2K course used for the crews’ spring races, but according to senior heavyweight Ryan Monaghan, the yearly regatta is good preparation for the upcoming fall race season.

“Our team goal is to get ready for the big races we have in the next few weeks,” Monaghan said. “The Head of the Charles is the race everyone will see in the fall. Lots of the teams we race in the spring, our main season, will be there. [The men’s heavyweight team] only lost two people from the top-2 boats, we got [senior] Spencer [Hunsberger] back, and we have some really good sophomores. We’re hoping to be one of the top-tier teams in collegiate rowing.”

All three teams have the Head of the Charles, the Princeton Chase, and the Syracuse Regatta on the calendar for the next two weekends. The men’s heavyweight and lightweight teams will also participate in the Syracuse Regatta on Nov. 4. But for this weekend, the squads will enjoy themselves in a celebration of Cornell rowing. Heavyweight senior Adrian Niño de Rivera is particularly excited.

“I’m rowing with my cowboy hat tomorrow,” Niño de Rivera said. “The greatest part about Schwartz Cup is that you return to rowing with your heart. Freshman year you become close with the guys in your class, but you never get to row just with them again until Schwartz Cup every year.”

Clark is looking to improve on his boat’s lackluster performance in the skit competition last year.

“This year we’re really going for the skit,” said Clark. “Last year my boat came in second, and I can’t have that again.”