April 1, 2007
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - At the conclusion of a Spring Break filled with intense training, the openweight women traveled to Philadelphia. They began the racing season on the historic Schuylkill River, visiting the sites and competing against the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University on Saturday morning. Conditions were perfect for racing - a cool overcast with the hint of a tailwind.
The first race of the day was the novice eight. With a deep squad full of talent, Penn jumped out to an early lead and cruised to victory over the 2000-meter course. There was an exciting battle for second between the Engineers and Hoyas, both crews being comprised entirely of walk-on novices. Georgetown enjoyed an early lead of about half a boat-length for the first 750 meters, through the turn to port under the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Still a few seats down approaching the halfway point, MIT coxswain Kristie D'Ambrosio called a power 20 that drew the Tech Women up even with its opponent by the 1000-meter buoy. Seeing this success, she immediately called a second move, grabbing the advantage over Georgetown for the first time. The Engineers held onto their rhythm for the second half of the race, and continued to widen their lead to open water by the finish line, despite understroking the Hoyas by two strokes per minute. Final times were: Penn 6:46.0, MIT 7:06.8, and Georgetown 7:13.2.
The varsity eights began their race a half hour later. There was not a lot of excitement, as the positions were determined early and held steady down the course. Penn entered two eights in the race, finishing only half a second apart, followed by Georgetown. The Tech crew rowed very well at 35 strokes per minute, displaying poise and a strong, consistent effort for the length of the course. Final times were: Penn "A" 6:27.4, Penn "B" 6:27.9, Georgetown 6:50.6, and MIT 7:04.9.
The last race of the day was by far the most exhilarating, pitting the varsity four from MIT against two from Penn and one from Georgetown. In the stern pair of the MIT four sat two of the squad's strongest rowers, one of whom had just raced in the varsity eight. Also falling behind at the start, this crew rowed its best through the middle of the course, pulling even with Penn's top boat by the final 500 meters. The sprint to the finish was an all-out battle, with the outcome remaining unclear until final results were announced. The Engineers were elated to learn that they had emerged victorious by just over a second. Final times were: MIT 7:28.8, Penn "A" 7:30.0, Penn "B" 7:36.9, and Georgetown 7:39.7.
The Engineers are looking forward to having two weeks to prepare for their next competition at the Knecht Cup in New Jersey.