Boris Tsang/Sun Contributor

Prior to the Head of the Fish Regatta, Cornell rowing competed in the women's championship eights at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge.

November 4, 2021

Freshmen Shine With 1st-Place Finish for Women’s Rowing at Head of the Fish Regatta

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Cornell women’s rowing spent the Halloween eve in Saratoga, New York competing at the Head of the Fish Regatta. 

Despite limited experience on the water together, the Red’s freshman 8+ boat stole the show with a time of 11:37.89, bringing a first-place finish and accompanying ceremonial fish head back to Ithaca. 

“I was proud of them,” sophomore Anna Duan said. “They’ve only raced once together before this weekend, so they really showed up and impressed us.” 

The Red’s 1V boat was determined to gain ground on Syracuse, its biggest competition and in-state rival. The weekend prior at the Head of the Charles, Cornell finished 23 seconds behind the Orange. 

With a surprising first-place finish from Syracuse’s 2V boat, the Orange’s 1V boat nabbed silver and was followed by Cornell, which narrowed the gap. The Red finished 10 seconds behind the Orange this past weekend, improving on the 23-second deficit at the Head of the Charles.

Another bright spot for the Red was its 4V boat. In a race mostly filled with 2V boats, the Red’s 4V was able to secure a third-place finish. With the addition of assistant coach Tracy Eisser ’12, Cornell women’s rowing has seen immediate benefits to having a two-time Olympian on the coaching staff. 

Given Eisser’s youth and alumni status, the Red’s rowers appreciate her presence not only as an accomplished rower, but also as a friend. 

“She fits in nicely with the team,” said sophomore Alexandra Martschenko. “Tracy raced at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and rowed at Cornell not too long ago. She’s definitely someone we can relate to.”

The Red now look forwards to a crowded Spring schedule, with races almost every week. This past weekend, the Red performed well, but the focus for the team was familiarizing itself with the course, which the Red will compete on for higher stakes in the spring. 

Duan and Martschenko look forward to the intense out-of-water training that will take place over the winter, especially their January training trip to Florida. From New Year’s Day to the start of the spring semester in late January, the Red will be able to go out on the water for the first time in weeks, while also using the trip as a bonding experience.