Rowers Cane Miami To End Florida TripBy Karl Richter
The men's crew teams concluded their two-week winter training trip in southern Florida with the heavyweight varsity's largest-ever win over the University of Miami on Jan. 18 at the Miami Invitational Regatta in Miami Beach.
The varsity heavyweight eight covered the choppy 800-meter course in a record-setting time of 2:32.7, which bested the previous course record of 2:33.2 - a time set in 1993 in much better conditions by a crew which would later go on to win the national championships.
In the three-boat varsity race, the heavyweights never felt pressure from the University of Miami crew which trailed from the start and finished 19 seconds behind in a time of 2:51.7. Before 1996, the race between the heavyweights and Miami had never been decided by more than two seconds.
The varsity lightweight eight finished in second place and also beat Miami in a time of 2:41.3.
The heavyweight boating, from bow to stern, was Karl Richter '99, Dan Parker '99, Mads Schmidt '98, Brian Smith '97, Mike Perry '99, Karsten Kallevig '99, Charlie Able '97, Robert Lentz '98, and coxswain Jen Lykens '99. In the lightweight first boat, the crew was from bow to stern, Shawn Hwang '99, Dan Frisk '99, Erik Balsley G, Paul Oppold '99, Jorge Broggio '97, Chris Liu '98, Torrey Radcliffe '97, Garrett Shook '97, and coxswain Joe Irineo '98.
The lightweights won the varsity fours race with the Miami four finishing second and the MIT heavyweight four finishing in third. The lightweight four included, from bow to stern, Oppold, Kris Kendall '98, Frisk, Radcliffe, and Andy Woo '97 as coxswain. A "crab" in the first few strokes of the race, which was caused when the rough water prevented one of the heavyweight oarsmen from removing his oar from the water, abruptly halted the heavyweight four's progress for a moment to put the boat down early in the very short race.
Adding to the day's victories for MIT, the lightweight freshman eight won the freshman eights race with a time of 2:54. Miami finished in second in 2:55, while the second lightweight freshman eight took third in 3:05. In the freshman fours race, the lightweight freshmen lost a close race to Miami for Miami's only win for the day. The freshman heavyweight squad did not have enough rowers on the trip to put together an eight or a four.
The placings in the second varsity eight race were the same as in the varsity eights, but the field was tighter. The heavyweights won the race in a time of 2:43 with the lightweights finishing just a few seats back in 2:44 and Miami crossing the line in 2:53.
Heavyweight Coach Gordon Hamilton said that his crews "rowed very well in terrible conditions... an outstanding performance." Indeed, this Miami race can be tacked on to the growing list of best-ever showings for the 1996-97 heavyweight varsity. The Miami race showed that the heavyweights' strong fall performances were not flukes and suggests that the squad can carry its speed from the longer fall season races into the sprint spring season of 2,000-meter racing. These results are even more encouraging because of the inexperience of this year's heavyweights; of the five sophomores, two juniors, and two seniors in the first varsity in Miami, only two are veterans of last year's varsity eight.
Potential runs high for this young squad. Look for all crew teams at the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston on Feb. 16. The heavyweights' first spring season race is against Columbia University in New York City on April 5.
Erik S. Balsley contributed to the reporting of this story