October 27, 2006

Crews Ready for Princeton Chase

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This weekend the men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s crews aim to do anything but row, row, row their boats gently down the stream. Instead, the Red plans to leave the competition rocking in its wake at Sunday’s regatta, the Princeton Chase, held in Princeton, N.J.

As opposed to last weekend’s race at the Head of the Charles, the Super Bowl of rowing that attracts national training teams and elite international crews, the Princeton Chase will host only collegiate teams. Navy, Harvard, and the West Coast schools will be absent, but Georgetown, Syracuse, and the rest of the Ivy League number among the Red’s opponents. Senior heavyweight Ryan Monaghan explained the breakdown of the competition.

“Every team has two eights in the morning,” Monaghan said. “In the afternoon the various boats break down into fours, pairs, singles, and other events. The eights are what’s important in collegiate rowing, but the other smaller races are for bragging rights.”

Sophomore Jimmy Germano, a coxswain for the heavyweights, pointed out that while the Red’s participation in the Head of the Charles was limited to one eight for each crew and a four for the heavyweights, the entire crew gets to row in the Princeton Chase.

“Everyone on the roster gets to go,” Germano said. “And everyone gets to race at least twice. It’s great for race experience.”

Germano and fellow coxswains, sophomore Tyson Moyer and senior Diana Athonvarangkul, navigated around sharp curves and through bridge arches last weekend, but this weekend they’ll get a break.
“It’s a much easier course in terms of the coxing aspect,” Germano said. “There are only two turns, and they’re both easy.”

The rowers will also have to a different, but not necessarily easier, course. The Princeton Chase is raced on a four and a half kilometer course, slightly shorter than the 5K course of the Charles. The shorter distance will chop a few seconds off the Red’s times, but the crews are looking to make the adjustments they need to get faster.

“We’re trying to gain those 10 seconds that we didn’t have last week and get an edge over the other crews,” Monaghan said. “We’re going to try to row longer and a bit more relaxed.”

At the Head of the Charles the heavyweight eight finished 14th in a field of 44 with a strong time of 14:48.132, and the heavyweight four placed eighth out of 18 boats with a time of 16:30.523. The lightweight men’s eight docked 10th of 26 crews after 15:04.67 of rowing, while the women’s eight placed 31st out of 45 competitors, posting a time of 17:11.428. The women’s crew had previous success at the Head of the Genesee Invitational Regatta, placing fourth of 14 entrants.

“This weekend, we mostly just hope to improve over last weekend,” said senior heavyweight Tyler Davis. “We want to prove to the rest of the league that we’re a force to reckon with and that we’ve got some speed. Even though this is just the second real race of our season, it’s pretty much the end for the fall. But it is the next step for spring. We want to be able to translate how we do now and build on it come spring.”

The three crews continue to push themselves in their efforts to get stronger, smoother, and faster on the water. According to junior heavyweight Rob McCormack, the Princeton Chase gives the Red the perfect venue for flexing its muscles.

“It’s like the Battle of Thermopylae,” McCormack said. “Except we’re rowing in New Jersey.”