On Sunday, May 10, both squads of the men’s crew team competed in the Eastern Sprints Regatta on windy Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester. Present were all 18 major East Coast rowing powers, including the eight Ivy League schools, as well as major state schools.
MIT’s heavyweight varsity eight entered the regatta set on writing a new chapter for MIT Crew, having received last place in every Sprints regatta in recent memory. In the first heat, the eight had their eyes on the crews of Yale University, Dartmouth College, and Georgetown University. The Engineers had to beat at least two of these teams in order to qualify for the second-level final, also known as the Petite Final.
Once the race started, MIT jumped out ahead of these three crews and steadily moved away from Yale and Georgetown. Dartmouth, whom MIT had defeated two weeks before, grabbed a half-length advantage over the Engineers in the third 500; they would hold on to third place despite a late charge from the Tech eight. Nevertheless, MIT got the job done and advanced to the Petite Final with a fourth place finish in the heat.
In the afternoon’s Petite Final, MIT rowed in fourth place through the first half of the 2,000-meter race. However, they were unable to respond to strong moves by Dartmouth and a solid sprint by the U.S. Naval Academy; MIT finished last in sixth place, although just one second out of fourth, to earn 12th place overall.
The heavyweight freshmen eight also earned a spot in their Petite Final with a fourth place finish in the heat. They had a slow start to their race, trailing the pack by almost a full length through the midpoint of the course. The squad then kicked it into gear and finished in the middle of their Petite Final, earning a third place finish, 1.5 seconds out of first, for ninth overall. The performance of the heavyweight squad will likely earn them an invite to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta, which is the national men’s rowing championship.
The lightweight varsity eight competed in a field of 10 strong crews. They struggled a little bit in their heat but advanced to the Petite Final. The four crews in the Petites slugged it out over the entire 2,000-meter course. Despite a competitive effort, MIT finished in last place.
The lightweight freshmen eight had a similar experience; the Engineers gave a solid fight, but would come out on the short end of a close finish. MIT finished last in this race as well, only 0.7 seconds behind the next crew.