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Women...s Lightweight Ends Fall With Win at Foot of the Charles Improvement Expected With Returning Members, Winter Training

By Conan Hum, Erqi Liu, 
and Jessica Lynch

The lightweight women’s rowing squad wrapped up its fall season by winning the lightweight division at the Foot of the Charles Regatta held Saturday, Nov. 18.

The team, small in numbers to begin with, has been dogged with injuries this fall but has strung together a series of ever improving races starting with Head of the Charles in late October and ending with Saturday’s victory.

At the Foot, the lightweights fielded two boats for the Varsity 4+ event and then, without rest, combined the crews and raced in the Varsity 8 event.

In the duel between the Radcliffe and MIT lightweights, the Engineer’s A 4+, starting four boat lengths behind Radcliffe, closed the gap over two miles and completed the course in 16:05.1, five seconds ahead of Radcliffe.

This was enough to place 14th of 40 entries while beating out many of the traditionally faster openweight boats. Rowing in MIT Lightweight A 4+ were Kathleen Yeh ’07 as stroke, Katherine L. Madden ’08, Katherine R. Hoff ’08, and Kathryn M. Schumacher ’09 at bow. The boat was cox’ed by Ainsley K. Braun ’10.

In the Varsity 8, the Engineers again started behind the Radcliffe lightweights and gained water on them from the start. MIT passed Radcliffe two-thirds of the way down the course stretch and finished decisively ahead with open water separating the two boats.

“After steering a course out of Radcliffe’s wake as we approached Week’s bridge, the boat came together and we walked through the Radcliffe boat, gaining a seat with every stroke,” co-captain Hoff said.

The Engineers placed ahead of all other lightweight crews and third overall with a time of 15:26.0, behind Northeastern (15:24.8) and Boston College (15:08.1). The boat was cox’ed again by Braun and included from stern to bow, Erqi Liu ’08, Emily J. Dykgraaf ’10, Madden, Kelly Chang ’08, Hoff, Schumacher, Yeh, and Tiffany L. Iaconis ’08.

As its injured members return, the squad will have a better chance of approaching its full potential and do better than at the Foot, but the team knows that hard training awaits if they want to be in contention for the championship titles in the spring.

“Winter training is critical for building the endurance and power necessary for speed in the spring. Because lightweight women’s rowing is becoming increasingly competitive, there are no guarantees and it is imperative that we work harder than all the other top lightweight crews out there,” said Madden.

Though the upcoming off-water training will be challenging, the energy derived from this success will help motivate the crew and propel them to an even more successful spring.