Holding off the competition (and hypothermia) at the Head of the Fish

The cold and damp rowers of the 2V proudly holding their first place fish head trophy.
The cold and damp rowers of the 2V proudly holding their first place fish head trophy.

SARATOGA, NY—The Williams women endured a bit of a dreary day at the Head of the Fish today on Fish Creek in Saratoga Springs, NY. Morning races occurred in an icy downpour, but five Williams boats managed to make it down the 3200-meter course before racing was called off for the day, and made a statement while they were at it. The women had come prepared with wool socks, ample layers, and a goal of controlling what could be controlled.

The 1st varsity boat started off the day with a second place finish just 1 second behind a Marist crew. Senior Annie Rush noted, "the conditions were pretty crazy but we did everything we could to be ahead at the end of the race. We sprinted early and didn't look back but it wasn't quite enough to hold off Marist. While it was disappointing to lose by such a small margin, I'm proud of the trust our boat has built over the fall racing season." Coxswain Ava Palmo, stroke seat Sam Lazar, Eileen Russell, Maddy Boutet, Julia Mini, Annie Rush, Brynn Moynihan, Diana Matthiessen, and Caroline Kessler finished with a time of 11:15.9, ten seconds ahead of Wesleyan.

Williams made up 3 of the 18 competitors in the JV race. The 2V took first in the event, the 3V took 8th, and the 4V placed 16th. All boats came in first in their respective categories, with the 3V rowing as a "B" boat and the 4V rowing as a "C" boat. The 2V, made up of coxswain Rebecca Tauber, Fiona Yonkman, Betsy Button, Stephanie Brown, Katherine Melkonian, Catherine Powell, Kate Latimore, Maddie LaCasse, and Katrina Wheelan, finished with a time of 11:50. Morgan Whaley, Anna Bruce, Harper Johnson, Grace Goodall, Maddie Dyke, Josie Maynard, Crystal Ma, Rebecca Coyne, and Alameda Chapman rowed in the 3V and finished in 12:42, beating five A boats from other teams and finishing 25 seconds ahead of the next B boat.   

The 4V came down the course in 13:52. 4V coxswain Allie Campbell said that "today's race was one of our strongest rows of the season in so many ways. The boat (made up of Amelia Jamond, Grace Chamberlin, Liz Ostermeyer, Lilia Robinowitz, Georgia Ganser, Ken Brenya, Rachel Morrow, and Nicole Fernandes) displayed not only physical strength but also an impressive drive to remain positive and pull hard for one another despite the awful conditions."

The novice four was the last race to make the cut before racing was cancelled due to the downpour and gusting winds. Freshmen Emma Wuerth, Lexi Cooper, Sydney Pope, and Olivia Straw—four walk-ons in their first ever race—completed the course in a time of 14:26, placing fourth in the event. Lexi summed up the day by saying: "It was so miserable. But...at the same time, being out there with my teammates and rowing with them and for them was such a special feeling that the rain and possible frostbite was totally worth it!"

The fall season is a short one, but it's fun to see new teammates become initiated on Fish Creek, and Allie Campbell notes that she is "continually so impressed by every single woman on this team, and that was especially true today." All of the rowers are now focusing on getting warm and then moving into the off-season. All training will occur indoors until the annual spring break trip to Myrtle Beach. For now, Annie Rush sums up the season with: "I've had a blast rowing with such strong and enthusiastic teammates and I can't wait to race again in the spring!"