BOSTON, MA — The Williams women's crew team traveled to Boston this weekend to take on Wellesley, William Smith, and the MIT lightweight team for the first competition of the season. After having minimal time on the water in the week leading up to the competition due to poor weather, and rowing on a half-frozen Lake Onota the morning before, the rowers were excited to be on the flowing water of the Charles River. The rowers layered up and prepared for a day of racing in 15 to 18 mile per hour winds and temperatures just barely above freezing.
The 1V started the day off strong. Caroline Kessler stroked her boat, composed of Eileen Russell, Bertie Miller, Masa Peterson, Maddy Boutet, Sam Lazar, Katrina Wheelan, Diana Matthiesen and coxswain Louisa Abel, to victory. The young 1V, with only two seniors included in the crew, fared well in the gusty conditions. According to 7 seat Eileen Russell, "The 1V got off to a strong start in rough conditions, ahead of Wellesley and William Smith and behind MIT. We were confident in our rhythm and were able to push through MIT in the first 500. For the rest of the race, we continued to chip away at the other crews and hold off their moves." The boat finished first, with a length of lead over MIT. "I was really proud of how the boat didn't let the wind and waves affect the power we put behind each stroke," said Russell.
The women in the 2V race (coxswain Ava Palmo, Clara Beery, Kate Latimore, Fiona Yonkman, Julia Mini, Katherine Melkonian, Stephanie Brown, Annie Rush, and Brynn Moynihan in bow) were next off the line. Throughout the course of the day, the race officials attempted to run starts off of stake boats (which serve as stable floating starting blocks so that boats can be lined up evenly), but they were thwarted every time by gusts of wind and white-cap waves that refused to allow any level of organization. Captain and stroke seat Clara Beery noted that the race was "a hard-fought battle down the course, and while we didn't end up with the result we wanted, we learned a lot and we're excited to bring those lessons into practice." The Ephs finished with a time of 8:14.5, less than one second behind the winning Wellesley boat.
Williams sent one four, composed of Grace Chamberlin, Grace McCabe, Amelia Jamond, Maddie Dyke, and coxswain Rebecca Tauber, to the race. The four competed against Wellesley and William Smith. The rowers intended to make it a race to the 1000-meter mark and put their bow ahead by the time Rebecca would have to steer beneath the bridge that makes up the halfway point of the 2000-meter course. The frigid temperatures and gusts made it difficult to find momentum, and the Williams and Wellesley boats were neck and neck going into the sprint, but the Williams crew was able to finish with their bow out in front. 3-seat Grace McCabe commented on the experience: "It was a valuable lesson in how to keep a racing mentality and continue to fight regardless of what the conditions threw at us. I'm excited that the three first-years in our boat got to start off their spring racing careers with a win and I look forward to improving as a boat and finding more speed in the coming weeks."
The 3V had a close race to finish the day of racing. Sarah Yang, Harper Johnson, Anna Bruce, Josie Maynard, Emily Saulnier, Annabelle Feist, Betsy Button, Abi Matthew, and coxswain Brittany Chung competed against MIT and two Wellesley boats. They finished with a second-place time of 8:24, again just a close margin of 2 seconds behind Wellesley. All crews had rowed a significant distance to the starting line at the top of the "Basin," and capitalized on having lots of time on the water on the long row back to the Wellesley boathouse by focusing on rowing well even when tired.
An even split between victories for the Williams and Wellesley crews left the team itching to race again. The two crews will compete again at the New England Rowing Championships in May. Clara Beery sums up the day by saying, "It was a challenging and exciting excursion to the Basin!"
Complete results can be found here: https://herenow.com/results/#/races/20455/results.