Men's crew has bad outing
By Anh Thu Vo
The men's lightweight crew took on Rutgers University last Saturday with a newly established lineup in the varsity eight boat. The improvement due to the settled seating was clear early, as the varsity took the lead after a cleanly executed start. But a wake bouncing off the Cambridge wall of the Charles River upset their balance, and the Scarlet Knights capitalized, eventually winning the race by 4.6 seconds.
The varsity's lead extended to over half a boat length until the 1100-meter mark, when they were hit by the errant wave. The Rutgers eight took advantage of their position on the outer lane and pulled even. By the 1500-meter mark, the Engineers were roughly half a boat length down. And despite the strong sprint during the last 300 meters, MIT was caught short, as Rutgers finished in 6:51.5 to MIT's 6:55.1 .
The lightweight junior varsity eight had lacked a consistent intensity in their recent races until Saturday, where the tide seemed to turn. Firing off the starting line, the JV eight took the lead and lengthened it to a three-seat advantage by the 500-meter mark. However, they did not match the strength or cleanliness of techniques displayed by Rutgers. Rutgers surged back to take an eight-seat lead by the 1000-meter mark and again near the 1500-meter mark. Rutgers won the race in 7:15 while MIT finished with approximately 7:30.
Despite the recent losses of the varsity eight, team captain Jim Broderick '89 remains optimistic, voicing high hopes for the men's Eastern Sprints Regatta later this month.
The lightweight teams will finish their season in two weeks at the men's Eastern Sprints Regatta in Worcester on May 14.
The men's heavyweight teams also lost to Syracuse University on the Charles River last Sunday. It has been a frustrating season for the team, whose record now stands at 0-7. Not only are they a relatively light crew, averaging only 185 pounds, but they are also a young team, with three sophomores in the varsity eight.
The inexperience and light weight average showed up again against the Syracuse crews. The two varsity eights were even for the first 500 meters after a good start made by the Engineers. However, when nearing the 700-meter mark, Syracuse pulled a "power 20" and gained nearly six seats. A power 20 is a series of 20 strokes taken during a race to move against an opponent or to take command of the lead. Most crews made their power 20s between the 1000- and 1500-meter marks.
Syracuse then made another power move near the 1000-meter mark and gained another three or four seats. Syracuse finished in 5:44.9, MIT in 5:54.9.
The heavyweight JV eight had a similar problem holding their own against Syracuse. They kept even for the first 400 meters before MIT caught a "crab" and lost three seats. A crab happens when a rower mistimes his catch (dropping the blade into the water at the beginning of a stroke) and lets his oar get snagged under the water, upsetting the boat's balance and slowing down the boat's speed.
After the crab, Syracuse made power moves during the middle 500 meters and simply rowed off with the race. Syracuse won the race in 6:03.4 while MIT finished in 6:11.6.
Varsity heavyweight coach Gordon Hamilton believed that the varsity and JV eights had rowed good races despite the losses. Syracuse simply was bigger and made very effective use of their weights during the middle 1000 meters. Chuck Sindelar '91 voiced similar opinions, believing that their strength and techniques have improved as the team gains more experience.
Syracuse's freshmen heavyweight teams also swept the races against their MIT opponents. Syracuse's first freshmen eight finished in 6:08.2, while MIT finished in 6:13.5. Syracuse's second freshmen eight finished in 6:27.8, beating the Engineer's 6:39.2.
The heavyweight crew will be racing against the University of Wisconsin and Dartmouth College this weekend.