WORCESTER, MA — All of the Williams men's crew packed up and left the Purple Valley Friday afternoon, a day before the racing in Worcester began, to go for a brief swing row to move the travel out of their legs. After a restful night of sleep, the men arrived on site at Lake Quinsigamond in waves for their races throughout the day. The New England Rowing Championship is a traditional heats-to-finals style progression; in the 1v category, the top two crews from each heat moves on to the final; in the 2v category, the top three finishers from each heat moves on to the final; and in the 3v category, the top three finishers move on.
In the heats, the 1v was well in the mix off the line. Relying on their fitness and skill, they stepped through the field to cross the line having just cracked open water on Boston College. The 1v won their heat with a time of 6:00.523, with Boston College following just a couple of seconds behind with a time of 6:04.526. Come time for the final, the Williams 1v fought throughout, demonstrating their consistent quality of resilience.
The WPI 1v got off the line with an incredible start, but towards the end fell behind the Bates College and Williams crews. The Ephs 1v finished second with a time of 6:10.303 behind Bates College's time of 6:07.879, and just edging out WPI, who finished about .15 of a second of the Williams crew. Coach Colin Regan said about the race: "We had our most complete race of the year in the heat. It was not our best race in the final, but against a good Bates crew." He continues, "We continue to show the toughness and resilience characteristic of great champions, showing an increasingly higher level of rowing skill and race execution. We've invested a lot into our fitness since last summer. The pieces are there, we just need a little more time to put them all together."
Like the 1v, the 2v won their heat with a time of 6:09.521, followed by Bates and Trinity, both crossing the line in about 6:12. "Our heat was uneventful. We just executed our race plan" said 2v coxswain Jamie Sullivan. "The Grand Final was incredible," he continued, "we drew level with Wesleyan and never looked back, raising the rate and going stroke for stroke." The crews certainly did, but it was the Williams 2v just getting through the line about a third of a second ahead of Wesleyan, and six seconds ahead of Trinity. The Williams 2v finished in 6:16.357, with Wesleyan finishing in 6:16.603, and Trinity in 6:22.119. This is the fourth year in a row the Williams 2v has won the NERC. Regarding the 2v's stellar race, coach Regan simply said "We showed incredible poise and embodied what belief and patience looks like in the final. That last 400 meters, was one of the boldest I've ever seen."
The 3v had a solid piece, with a rapid start off the line, to place second in their heat, assuredly moving to the final with a time of 6:24.531 behind the Wesleyan 3v and ahead of the Trinity 3v, who crossed the line in 6:20.555 and 6:31.691 respectively. "The final was a bit rocky, but the boat recovered well to sure ahead to chase down Wesleyan" said coxswain Chrissy Pak about the race, "we fought valiantly in the last 400 meters, opening water on the rest of the field." The Wesleyan 3v took 1st in the final with a time of 6:28.145, the Williams 3v was just edged out by Trinity for second; the Trinity crew finished in 6:36.140 and the Eph crew finished in 6:36.304. "It was a great step in the right direction for this group" says coach Dave Smaus, "the 3v went faster than they ever have and came to compete."
The three Williams men's crews will return to Lake Quinsigamond next week for their last race of the season, the national invitational rowing championships.