WORCESTER, MA — The Williams men arrived on site at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA, early this morning prepared to race and excited to put all the training they had done and physiological gains they had made to the test. The first race of the 2016 season for Williams men's crew, the Jim Donahue Cup traditionally features host WPI and visitors MIT and Williams; University of Rochester also participated in the regatta this year.
The first race of the day for the men was the varsity eight, followed by the second varsity eight and finally the third varsity eight. The 1v men were down on MIT and WPI off the line, back nearly a length at the end of the first 500 meters. The Ephs stayed poised and relied on their fitness through the middle 1000, walking back on MIT and WPI and extending their lead on University of Rochester.
At 500 meters to go the men had put open water between their stern and WPI's bow and had pulled to a two-seat lead on MIT. The finish came too soon and MIT just edged out the 1v men by .44 of a second. MIT finished with a time of 5:54.9 and Williams with a time of 5:55.34; WPI and University of Rochester came in third and fourth, respectively. "They demonstrated poise and resilience after finding themselves nearly 20 meters behind very early on," says head coach Colin Regan, "in nearly 20 years of rowing, I've seen only a handful of races as courageous as the one these guys rowed today."
The second varsity men had a similar race, starting down on WPI and MIT off the line, stepping back to about four seats down just before 500 meters into the race. By 750 meters in, 1250 meters to go, the crew drew even and passed WPI, extending their press in pursuit of MIT. Like the 1v, the 2v relied on their ability to not get tired, maintaining hull speed through the middle 1000 meters. 400 meters to go and the 2v caught MIT, extending their lead to open water by 200 meters to go, and finishing with a seat or two open on MIT's 2v, WPI sprinting to put their bow ball ahead of MIT's as well.
The Williams 2v finished the 2000 meter race in 6:22.1, WPI in 6:27.79, and MIT in 6:28.15. Commenting on the race, coach Regan said, "they rowed a very mature race, they weren't bothered by early deficit and instead chose to trust themselves. They have a great spirit and do not allow themselves to be pushed around."
In the final race for the Williams men, the third eight struck out for an enthusiastic piece. Led by an experienced coxswain and a couple experienced rowers, today was a handful of the athletes' first collegiate rowing 2k race. The 3v had a challenging start, but quickly found their composure and made their way through the WPI 3v. By the 1k mark the 3v had open water on WPI, and from there continued to take more water. The Williams 3v crossed the line finishing with a time of 6:57.5 with the WPI 3v finishing with a time of 7:28.64. Coach Dave Smaus commented: "The 3V did a great job today. For a boat that ranges in experience from Seniors to Novice they came together and rose to the challenge and completed the task with a win. There is a still a mountain to climb and today was great first step."
The Williams men's crews race again next week against Wesleyan at their home course on Lake Onota in Pittsfield, MA.