Philadelphia, PA—The Ephs stopped over in Philadelphia on the return trip from training in South Carolina to race St. Joe's and Drexel University in two dual races.
Arriving on Thursday after a long drive, the Ephs settled into the communal accommodations in the Shipley School gym. Thanks to the generosity of the school, the team was able to have a home base for a couple days. The Ephs hit the water on Friday for a practice row and a tour of the historic Schuylkill River racecourse.
Races commenced late on Friday for the men with the first beginning at 12:20pm. The racecourse was crowded as most of the Northeast is still frozen over so teams fled south seeking open water. Additionally, the wind kicked up to a steady 20-25mph with gusts up to 35mph. The direction of the wind shifted throughout the day and intrarace with tail winds at the start and swirling head and cross winds throughout the final 1km. Because of the wind, the umpires chose to forgo the stake boats for floating starts. These conditions were a great test for all racing.
The next to race was the second varsity boat that went up against St. Joe's. The boat notched a win with a 2.3 second margin with a time of 6:05.0.
The first varsity boat followed shortly after in a race that went untimed but resulted in a 5.3 second margin, which is just over a half a length of open water. The Ephs jumped out to an early lead and held onto the margin through the body of the race.
The last of the early afternoon races was the third varsity boat, which is a mix of varsity and novice freshmen rowers. Technically Williams's fourth fastest boat, they went up against the third boat from St. Joe's. The boat rowed a strong race but was overpowered by the Hawks by a margin of 15.2 seconds.
A couple hours later the Ephs took to the water again to face Drexel University who won Dad Vail's last year.
Next to race was the second varsity boat that had their hands full with a boat that placed in the top 10 at the Charles in the Collegiate event. The boat raced strong bit fell behind after a strong start by Drexel and fought from behind to finish 12.7 seconds back with a finishing time of 6:36.7.
The first varsity followed with a tight race. For the first 700m the Ephs hung with Drexel, but were slowly pushed away throughout the body of the piece. The final margin was 9 seconds with the Ephs posting a finishing time of 6:09.0.
The last boat to race was the third varsity who rowed a great races but were significantly outmatched resulting in a 33 second margin.
Overall the racing was a great experience for the Ephs who were able to gauge their speed against a number of competitors. The Ephs home water is still solidly frozen over with little chance of thawing out soon so the rest of the season is still up in the air. The racing schedule for next weekend is still TBD as Worcester is frozen over as well.