May 17, 2007
CHERRY HILL, N.J. - The MIT lightweight women's crew team had a full day of racing on Sunday at the Women's Eastern Sprints in Cherry Hill, N.J., as the squad boated a novice lightweight eight, second novice eight and a varsity eight for the racing.
The first event that the lightweight women raced in on Sunday was the second novice openweight eight event. Because there is no second novice eight event for lightweight women, MIT raced in the openweight race, combining with two athletes from the novice openweight squad. The heat went off at 9:50 a.m. with an advancing order of the two winners of the heat and the next two fastest times advancing to the final. While the Engineers did not clock in with one of the top two finishes in their heat, they advanced to the final with their time.
The crew fought through tough competition and some difficult conditions to make it to the final, with gusts of wind on Sunday reaching 20 miles-per-hour. Though the crew did not have a good start due to the windy conditions, it was able to stay together and work hard through the race.
The final took place under better conditions at 2:00 p.m. The crew got off to a much faster start and showed a new level of speed in its racing in the final. In the end, the boat came in sixth after a well-fought 2,000 meters.
Novice coach Claire Kostrzewski was extremely encouraged by the race.
"I was quite happy with the performance of this crew today," she said. "They have shown to be tough competitors all year and really brought their racing to a new level in the final today".
In the other novice event, the lightweight eight, MIT finished a disappointing fifth. After a fast start and a competitive first half of the race, MIT fell off the pace of Georgetown and its Ivy League rivals.
According to Coach Kostrzewski, "these athletes have come a long way in the past nine months and have learned that they have the opportunity to be successful collegiate rowers by building on what they have done this year. While the result is disappointing, they should be encouraged by their growth this year."
In the varsity lightweight eight event, the MIT crew was only the second eight ever to race in the Eastern Sprints since becoming a varsity program. Last year, MIT was only able to boat a varsity four.
MIT varsity coach Irene Jenkins is pleased with the progress that her team is making.
"My goal this year was to develop my team to be successful in the eight event at Sprints and IRA," she said. "While we are still building on that goal, the development of the team has come a long way since last year at this time."
The varsity eight finished fifth in the field and is looking to build its speed for IRA's and for the future by incorporating its novice team into the varsity.