Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester, MA – Williams women's crew ended their regular season with a commanding performance at the National Invitational Rowing Championship, placing every boat on the medals podium and coming home with the overall team title. The team also won the combined men's and women's title.
Forecasts of foul weather changed the schedule for the weekend, but fortunately all boats were able to compete as planned. The Ephs entered three eights and a four and took first in two of the events.
The first race of the morning was the 1V eight, who won their heat with a six second lead over second place Wellesley. The Ephs continued to find speed in their afternoon race, taking first place again and earning an automatic qualifying spot to the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, CA. The 1V finished the Grand Final in a time of 7:19.18, ahead of second place Bates and third place Wesleyan.
"This week in practice we found another gear and the most exciting part of Sunday was being able to lay it down on race day," commented junior five seat Gabrielle Markel. "Our Grand Final was successful because of its composure and our trust in our base. We're looking forward to two weeks of finding more speed before nationals!"
The second event of the day was the 2V eight, who also took first place in their heat with an eight second lead over Wesleyan. They faced stiffer competition in the afternoon, placing third with a time of 7:29.5 behind Wellesley and Bates.
"We raced hard for the first 1000 meters, but we weren't able to break into the lead established by Bates and Wellesley," remarked sophomore five seat Rebecca Smith. "We were still proud of our performance and the team's performance. You know the saying silence is golden? This weekend purple was golden. It was a great day to be an Eph."
Next off the line was the Williams 3V, who also won their morning heat with an eighteen second lead over Wesleyan. The Ephs reprised this performance in the afternoon, taking first in the Grand Final with a time of 7:21.28, two seconds ahead of second-place Bates and thirteen seconds ahead of third-place Wesleyan.
"The 3V had two incredible weekends of racing and a great end to our season!" reflected junior seven seat Katie Swoap. "We really came together as a boat and worked together to stay super gritty and keep Bates off the whole way down the course. We are all so proud of our women's team and the whole team performance that allowed us to take home two more trophies!"
The final event of the day was the open four, who also had a dominant performance in the morning heats, placing first with a thirty-four second lead over Mt. Holyoke. The 4+ had a strong performance in the Grand Final, placing second in a time of 8:13.49, nine seconds behind first place Ithaca.
"More than anything, the races today were just really fun," said sophomore stroke seat Maria Hansen. "We were able to just go out and trust our training. The boat really came together to move as one unit and we were able to execute our race plan in a really aggressive way."
The National Invitational Rowing Championship concludes the Ephs regular season, but the 1V and 2V will be competing at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento on May 27-29. The team is excited to find more speed as they continue to train through the end of the month.