Princeton, NJ-- The Ephs ventured down to Princeton University for the prestigious Princeton Chase. This regatta is one of the largest collegiate races that brings most of the nations fastest crews to the beautiful Carnegie Lake. Williams was fortunate to recieve an at large bid to join Trinity (a historical member) as the only Division III schools in attendance. The 4.4km course starts on the straight 2km race course (used for spring racing) then makes a large S-curve to end right infront of the prodigious Princeton boathouse.
The men were excited for the oppotunity to race against bigger and faster crews. They understand that the only way to take the program to the next level is to race next level crews. The Ephs did not dissappoint as the top boat placed 14th out of 57 heavyweight varsity boats. This put them behind elite second varsity boats from Princeton, Northeasten, Cal and Boston University, but ahead of many top first varsity programs including Columbia, Dartmouth, Navy, Trinity, Holy Cross, Rutgers, Temple, and MIT.
The conditions were much calmer from the gusting 20-25mph headwind during Saturday's practice row, but a moderate head wind with some 10mph gusts hampered the Ephs speed. The opinion in rowing is that lighter crews do relatively better in tailwinds, while heavy, strong crews fare relatively better in headwinds. The Ephs were much smaller than the majority of the crews on the water, so they had to rely on technique to fight the headwind.
"We weren't able to muscle it into the headwind like many of the other crews," commented co-captain Erick Quay, "but we did a good job of being clever with our technique to adapt to conditions. Also, as our first time on the course, we got pushed around significantly when fighting for the inside line on turns. We got caught in a pack with a slower crew in front and a faster crew behind so we definitely lost some time getting forced to the outside, but that's the nature of fall racing. I'm very satisfied with how we performed today, and it was a great note to end the fall season on."
The second varsity placed 47th of 57 crews, but still came in ahead of Georgetown, MIT, Rutgers, and Temple's second varsity boats. The Williams first and second varsity boats were seperated by 54 seconds.
The freshmen had a strong showing at the Head of the Fish on Saturday taking first place in the Novice Men's 8+ catergory. The second freshman boat fought hard to finish in the middle of the pack. An exciting finish to the season for many freshman who had never had an oar in their hands until only a month ago.
Now that the Ephs have finished the fall season, they will close up the boathouse and head indoors for a long winter training season. The Ephs will take to the water again in mid-March on their spring training trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. The first spring sprint race (2km) will likely be in Philadelphia on the team's return trip to school.