Nov. 15, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The fall rowing season ended on Saturday for the openweight women's team with the Foot of the Charles regatta. The event serves primarily to showcase the novice eights for each participating team, with upper-class rowers competing in fours. Tech's top novice entry put an exclamation point on a successful fall season by placing third in a field of 33 crews.
Despite wind and rain later in the day, conditions were warm and mostly favorable for the morning races. The varsity fours rowed through steady showers on flat water, while the novice eights experienced a moderate breeze but stayed dry. The course covered approximately 2.5 miles of the Charles River, with the MIT Pierce Boathouse serving as the start line and Harvard's Newell Boathouse marking the finish.
The Engineers entered two varsity fours into a record field of 58. Having demonstrated good speed in practices the prior week, both boats were hopeful to be competitive with the pack. Unfortunately, both crews struggled to establish their rhythm, and in the end placed 34th and 55th overall. Even so, the "A" four came in ahead of the top entries from UMass and the University of New Hampshire with a time of 15:34.7, and was less than 10 seconds from the top half of the field. Brown won the event with a commanding time of 14:15.5, followed by Radcliffe (14:22.8) and Boston University (14:26.1).
In the novice eight race MIT also fielded two openweight crews for the first time since 2005. Racing as a top freshman lineup for the first time, the "A" boat attacked the start line with guns blazing, and passed Boston University "A" (the boat just ahead in the starting order) in the first 500 meters. The crew's time to the Riverside Boathouse halfway mark proved to be the second fastest of the day, but precious seconds were lost trying to overcome the next boat in queue heading toward the finish line. In the end, MIT "A" covered the course in 13:59.4 to earn third place behind Brown (13:34.6) and Radcliffe (13:56.4). By defeating Dartmouth, Syracuse, Boston College, UMass, Northeastern, Rutgers, New Hampshire, Buffalo, Boston University, Rhode Island, and Army, this Class of 2012 crew earned the best result in the history of the event for MIT.
The MIT "B" novice eight also rowed impressively, placing 21st of the 33 boats with a time of 15:26.6. That time was just behind URI "A" (15:26.1), and ahead of the "B" entry from Radcliffe (15:27.1). Lightweight novice Mia Shen stepped into this lineup to race in place of the injured Meghan Dow.
"The incredible success of our freshmen today is a testament to the positive attitude and work ethic they have demonstrated since day one," commented head coach Holly Metcalf. "We know that there is work to do as a team to be competitive on the varsity level this spring, but we have all the ingredients necessary to continue improving and be faster than ever. The future looks bright indeed."
Next the Engineers turn to the ergometers, weight room, and indoor tank for winter conditioning. They'll revisit the water for 10 days in Florida mid-winter before returning to land training in January, then pick-up with the spring season in March.