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Women's Crew Claims First Season Victories

By Andrea Jensen, Nicole Weymouth, and Beth Sebern.
Team Members

After weeks of hard work and preparation, the women's crew team claimed its first wins of the season in grand form by winning nearly all of its races against Connecticut College, Williams College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute this past Saturday, on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester.

The first win for MIT came from the varsity eight, in its respective event, with a time of 6 minutes, 58.9 seconds. The boat, comprised of coxswain Sherry Hsiung '95, stroke Andrea Jensen '95, Lynn Yang '95, Jessica Oleson '96, Amy Gieffers '97, Sarah Black '96, Linda Rosenband '96, Judy Ascano '96, and bow Stacy Morris '96, raced aggressively all the way down the 2,000-meter course.

Right from the start, MIT was countering moves from both Conn. College and Williams. With about 500 meters to go, the varsity boat finally put Williams behind them and muscled through the sprint to beat Conn. College by just 1.5 seconds. The race was the best this boat has put together since the season started two weeks ago.

MIT's first race of the year was handily won by Northeastern University, with second place going to Boston College, and MIT finishing third. The next week was a rematch between MIT and BC, with additional competition from Tufts University and Amherst College. After the halfway mark in that race, MIT and BC were well ahead of the other two boats. BC held off each move made by MIT and claimed the race in the last 500 meters.

Over the past two weeks, the varsity crew members have been learning from these earlier races and have put together a stronger, more aggressive race. They are now preparing for this weekend's New England Women's Eight Regatta, where the they will be racing against Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, and Smith Colleges.

2nd varsity wins exciting victory

The second varsity eight pulled out an exciting victory in their race against Conn. College, Williams, and MIT's third varsity. The boat got off to a strong start, and after taking the first 40 high strokes, the pace settled to a rating of 34 strokes per minute. At this point, the second boat was down by half a boat length to both the third varsity and to Williams.

The stroke rate was high, but the boat was spinning its wheels. At the 500-meter mark, the second varsity began to take control of the race. Coxswain Shruti Sehra '96 called for a more intense and controlled stroke, and the crew delivered.

In the third 500 meters of the race, the boat moved ahead to take the lead down the rest of the course. The pace was controlled, strong, and consistent. Sehra called the sprint early, with about 300 meters to go. Once again, the boat picked up speed and the stroke rate jumped up. The second varsity boat won the event with MIT's third varsity taking second, less than six seconds back.

The third boat was quite pleased with their row as well. They kept warm while waiting the extra half hour for the start. The crew was strong right off the start, staying quick and clean. The staggered start gave them the lead and they managed to keep it through the first 1,000 meters.

Williams College, in the lane next to them, was within sight the entire race. Although everyone felt the boat sag at the 1,250 mark, the rest of the piece had good rhythm and swing, with the boat making moves where they had planned.

At the beginning of the final sprint to the finish, Williams surged forward, bringing the boats almost even. MIT kept its cool, brought up the intensity, and had a solid finish, beating out both Williams and Conn. College.

Of all the rowers, Coach Mayrene Earle felt that Nicole Weymouth '96, seven seat, was by far the strongest, leading the rest of the boat to victory, or rather, second place.

The final varsity event of the day was a lightweight eight race between BC, MIT, and Williams. The MIT eight was comprised of seven members of the junior varsity boat, plus Oleson from the first varsity boat. Despite the fact that this boat was rowing its second race of the day, it put together an aggressive and well-rowed 2,000-meter piece, coming within four seconds of BC's historically fast lightweights.

The two novice events rounded out the day for the women. The first novice eight fell short of claiming victory, losing to Williams by six seconds. However, they were 50 seconds ahead of third place Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The second novice eight race was only raced by two boats, MIT and Williams. MIT dominated that race by crossing the finish line a full five seconds ahead of the other boat.