The battle of the crews sounds more like a battle of the crayon box, as the Red heavyweight and lightweight crews hope to erase the Orange and other competition tomorrow at the Syracuse Regatta in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Red will row against RIT, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Colgate, and Syracuse, a perennially strong competitor in the spring season’s Eastern Sprints. A three-mile head race, the Syracuse Regatta is held on a difficult, winding course.
“It’s pretty tough; there are lots of turns,” said sophomore Jimmy Germano, a coxswain for the heavyweights. “Last year we had some problems with people running into some landmarks and collecting weeds on the rudder. It basically destroyed the boat. Plus, sometimes you can get penalized up to a minute for running into certain landmarks.”
[img_assist|nid=19586|title=crew|desc=Members of the men’s crews (above) race against each other during the annual Schwartz Cup held on Oct. 14.|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=67]
Unlike most collegiate races, the Syracuse Regatta breaks the varsity crews down into boats of four and only the freshmen row in eights. The freshman and women’s crews will participate in the Belly of the Carnegie in Princeton, N.J., next weekend, but the Syracuse Regatta is the final race of the fall season for the men’s heavyweight and lightweight varsity crews.
Both varsity crews have proven to their opponents over the fall season that they are a force to be reckoned with.
At the Head of the Charles, the heavyweight eight finished 14th out of 44 boats with a time of 14:48, and the heavyweight four docked eighth of 18 crews with a time of 16:30.5.
The heavyweights were equally successful at last week’s Princeton Chase, with their three boats finishing fourth, ninth, and 16th.
The second lightweight eight finished first at the Princeton Chase with a time of 14:25.74, narrowly edging out its teammates in the first boat. Overall the lightweights had a strong showing, finishing first, third, and 12th out of 30 boats. The previous weekend at the Head of the Charles, the lightweights came in 10th of 26 boats with a 15:04.67 finish, being outraced only by Princeton and Penn amongst Ivy League boats.
Even though this weekend’s race is rowed on a longer course and with smaller boats than the races of the spring season, the varsity fours hope to compete as well as they have been in recent weeks while the freshman eights are looking to create a stir in their first races.
“We’re all rowing in mixed boats as opposed to boats ordered according to speed,” said senior heavyweight Ryan Monaghan. “The smaller boats are more responsive to the differences in speed among the individuals in the boat, so the coaches can gauge how well certain guys will row together.”
Another advantage of racing in fours, according to lightweight rowing senior Alex Krupp and senior coxswain Pat Little, is the valuable race experience that the newer rowers will get.
“The race this weekend is just a good opportunity for people who haven’t raced as much,” Krupp said. “They can post good times and develop into better rowers for the spring, our more competitive season.”
“It’s great competition for the lightweights especially,” Little said. “We have a strong lightweight program, and the guys who didn’t get to race at the Princeton Chase will get to compete against heavyweight crews from smaller schools like RIT and try to beat them.”
After this weekend, the varsity men’s crews will hit the erg machine and the weight room, but they will also enjoy lots of time off due to the Ivy League 49-day rule, which stipulates that varsity athletes must have at least 49 days off from official practice so they can focus more on their studies. In January the heavyweights will travel to New Orleans and the lightweights will fly to Orlando for their winter training trips in preparation for the spring season.
“The good thing about rowing is that anything you do will help you to get faster,” Krupp said. “We’re not allowed to have official practices, but we each do our own thing, whether it’s getting on the rowing machine, lifting, or running.”
Both teams know the importance of not slacking off over the break.
“We’re definitely light-years ahead of where we were last fall,” Monaghan said. “Still, a lot can change in the winter. Some crews can gain a lot of speed, some can lose a lot. We have to keep our training up on our own so we’re one of the crews that increases a lot of speed during the offseason.”