The MIT Rowing Club traveled to Philadelphia last weekend to compete in the Wharton Sprints, a regatta hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The club fielded a men’s eight, women’s four, and mixed eight crew in competition against crews from Wharton and the Yale School of Management over a 1000-meter course on the Schuylkill River. All rowers returned home with gold medals following victories by the men’s eight and the mixed eight crews.
The men took a convincing lead at the start and remained about half a boat length ahead for most of the race. Yale initiated a powerful sprint in the last 300 meters to threaten the lead, but MIT squeaked out a victory by two seconds.
“Yale rowed a smart race,” described J. Decker Ringo G. “They held their distance for the first seven hundred meters and made a surge towards the end. Yale’s sprint wasn’t quite enough, though.”
Yale’s men’s crew will have an opportunity for a rematch on Saturday, April 19 when MIT travels to New Haven. While Ringo said he is “terrified of our rematch this weekend,” Charles J. Moore G looked to the future. “I can’t wait to face off against Harvard,” Moore said, referring to the World Graduate Rowing Championships in two weeks, held on the Charles River.
The men’s eight crew consisted of rowers Ringo, Moore, Hansen C. Bow G, Steven B. Aller G, Omid Nohadani, Mark Ashdown, Justin Stroud, Waleed A. Farahat PhD ’07, and coxswain Ryan A. Tam G.
The women’s four crew rowed a clean race but were disappointed to fall behind Wharton near the 500-meter mark. However, coxswain Yuhua Hu G, Caroline T. Saouma G, Emily M. Craparo G, Vasilka Sopova, and Judy Galido had the opportunity to compete again in the mixed eight event.
The mixed eight crew achieved a narrow victory over Yale and Wharton. After taking an early lead, MIT fell slightly behind Yale during the middle of the race, while maintaining a solid lead over Wharton. With 300 meters remaining and Yale directly alongside, coxswain Hu drove her rowers to edge ahead of Yale in the final strokes of the race.
Saouma recalled about the finish, “Yuhua motivated me to pull so hard I nearly passed out in the final strokes, but it was worth it.”
Other rowers in the club also shared that sentiment. Ashdown summed up the weekend by commenting, “I enjoy competing, and especially winning. It makes all those 6 a.m. training sessions seem worthwhile.”
The MIT Rowing Club complements the intercollegiate varsity crew by providing a competitive and instructional rowing program for all members of the MIT community.