May 11, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - As a final tune-up before next weekend's championship, the Engineers faced off against the lightweight women from Radcliffe on Saturday morning in a scrimmage on the Charles River. Conditions on the river were the best they have been all year, with flat water and a mild breeze. The day began with a varsity fours race, followed by the novice eights.
Due to injuries, the varsity squad from MIT will race a four rather than an eight at Eastern Sprints, keeping the focus on having a fast eight at the IRA championship. Having a chance to face off against Radcliffe in fours was excellent preparation. The lightweight four race featured two boats each from MIT and Radcliffe. The MIT Sprints lineup crossed the finish line just behind the Radcliffe boat, offering a promising outlook for the Engineers next weekend. Complete results: Radcliffe "A" 8:00.2, MIT "A" 8:02.7, Radcliffe "B" 8:25.2, and MIT "B" 8:39.2.
The novice eight race had only one boat from each squad. MIT competed for the first time in "1973 The First Women's Varsity Crew" - the new Resolute shell becoming available when the varsity decided to focus on a four for Sprints. With a few lineup changes as well, this race was a valuable testing opportunity.
Getting off to a good start, the novice Engineers led Radcliffe for the first 500 meters of the race. Perhaps a little too excited, they were then unable to settle into a stable rhythm. With longer strokes, Radcliffe slowly walked back through, taking a lead by the halfway mark. MIT kept contact through the majority of the race, and sprinted to the line in 7:35.0, only 7.5 seconds behind the black-and-white's 7:27.5.
Next weekend the lightweight women will race in the EAWRC Sprints. The varsity four and novice eight are entered, as well as an openweight novice four which contains mostly lightweight rowers. This will mark the end of the season for the novice eight and four, and the varsity and novice squads will join forces to re-focus on developing a single fast eight for the IRA championship in early June.