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The lightweight crew team finished their indoor winter training season with four men breaking into the Institute’s top eight 5k records. Co-captain William R. Garthwaite ’08 and Andrzej “Woj” P. Wojcieszynski ’08 earned second and seventh in the record books with times of 17:17.4 and 17:31.8, respectively. Meanwhile, Raphael “Raffi” R. Peterson ’10 earned fifth with a time of 17:23 flat and co-captain Aaron M. Blankstein ’10 took eighth with 17:38.3.

“Seeing one guy make gains in speed pushes the whole team to go after him,” said Wojcieszynski.

Rowing is a Division I, year-round sport at MIT that moves indoors when the Charles River freezes over. During this time, oarsmen train and compete with each other on the ergometer, an indoor rowing machine that is recognized as a world standard training and racing tool.

While fall races are 5000 meters long and feature staggered start times, spring racing is shorter and faster with crews competing side-by-side over a 2000 meter course. Winter training serves as a time for crews to improve fitness and prepare their bodies to produce the raw power and speed required in 2000 meter racing. “The competition will be fierce as always, but I’m really excited to see how far we can take our speed this season,” said co-captain Blankstein.

Lightweight men’s crew opens its spring racing season this Saturday on the Charles River against perennial Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges contenders Yale University and Georgetown University. This year is the 29th annual contest between MIT and Yale for the Joy Cup in the Varsity 8 race. Georgetown has been invited as a guest for 2008 and is joining the race for the first time.

Racing starts at 6:48 a.m. with the Varsity 4+ race, with the 2F (2nd Freshmen) Eight racing at 7:12 a.m. The 1F will take off at 7:36 a.m. and the Varsity 8 at 8:24 a.m. The races will start at the Longfellow Bridge and finish right before Tang Hall on the Cambridge shore of the river. Spectators are welcome to watch from the Massachusetts Ave. Bridge, located at the 1000 meter mark, and the Pierce Boathouse, where crews have 500 meters left to go.