Saratoga Springs, NY -- Men's Crew concluded their season by racing at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs, New York. The 1V boat also made the trip to New York instead of the Princeton Chase as was originally planned. This change was made to better align the racing schedule with the team's fall emphasis on learning and building a strong technical foundation. The Ephs entered 7 boats into various events for the day, with many rowers competing twice in different boats.
Crews on the course battled a gusting headwind throughout the day that slowed times and forced rowers to be very conscientious of their blade entries.
First up in the morning, the men's novices faced their first race together. For many of them this was their first race at all. The men's novices put what they learned throughout the fall to the test in the challenging conditions, and handled the race admirably. The Ephs finished 10th in a field of nearly 30 crews with a time of 11:52.
Next up, the Ephs raced two varsity 4+, composed of members of the 1V and 2V eights. Both fours struggled to find their groove together from the outset of the race, and failed to handle the headwind. Neither boat was able to sustain a high rating necessary for racing due to their struggles. The A 4+ finished in 7th with a time of 12:40, the B boat finished in 12th with a time of 13:00.
In the afternoon the members of the 4+ joined their teammates in the 1V and 2V 8+ to get another shot at the course and fix the issues of the morning. In the 1V race the wind picked up further but the boat handled the conditions better, albeit still not to the best of their ability. The 1V had a great build off the line hitting a smooth rating of 34 before coming around the bend and getting hit by the headwind. The rating fell to a 30-31 but the Ephs kept up the fight. However, the crew was unable to stay clean as poor strokes and wobbles knocked the boat out of rhythm multiple times during the race. These issues caused the Ephs to lose a lot of speed as they continuously needed to rebuild their rhythm and boat speed. The 1V finished in 9th with a time of 11:30.
The 2V rowed significantly better. After struggling to come together early in the fall, the young crew has made great progress over the past several weeks and is beginning to find its speed. The 2V stayed strong in the conditions and put down a consistent rhythm that carried them to a 4th place finish in a time of 11:53.
To cap off the day, the Ephs raced two novice 4+. Both boats were composed of entirely walk ons making their racing debut at the Fish. The A 4+ finished in 12th with a time of 15:50 while the B boat came in at 15th with a time of 16:18.
Head Coach Marc Mandel is pleased with the team's progress over the fall, despite their stumbles at the Head of the Fish: "We had mixed results today. The Second Varsity Eight has made significant improvements over the past month and rowed a great race to finish fourth, just narrowly missing out on a medal finish. Unfortunately in the First Varsity Eight we stumbled some in practice this week and were unable to maintain the positive momentum we had established throughout the season, finishing with a performance that was not representative of the overall progress we have made this fall. Regardless of the results, as I wrap up my first few months at Williams and we go into the off-season, I am pleased with the effort and dedication all of our athletes have shown and feel we are laying a solid foundation for the spring and beyond."
Now the Ephs will go inside for winter training on the ergs where they will build fitness in preparation for spring racing. They will return to the water for their spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C.