NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale heavyweight crew team rowed its home opener in style Saturday as all five of its crews defeated the Dartmouth Big Green. The conditions on the Housatonic were near perfect during the freshman race as the Yale Class of 2014 tasted victory for the first time after losing by one second to Brown two weeks ago. The Yale varsity eight also turned things around after a disappointing finish against Brown with a five second victory over the Big Green to capture the Olympic Axe.
"Today was our first chance since our meeting with Brown to put together a more complete race," said Marcos Carzolio, one of the seniors in the Yale varsity eight. True the Bulldogs have not had to give up the Axe for the past three years and with Saturday's win the senior class is four for four, but in truth Yale has not lost this race since the two schools began racing for the trophy in 2004.
After a 20-minute delay to let the morning fog roll through, racing began with the third varsity eight. Yale started down six seats because it had the inside lane, but the Bulldogs had their bow in front before the first 20 strokes were through. Yale had open water by the 500-meter mark and walked it up even further around the inside of the turn. Yale won in a time of 6:01.6 to Dartmouth's 6:14.1.
Dartmouth had its most inspired race in the freshman eight event. The Big Green outpaced Yale at the start, hitting a 39 stroke rate to Yale's 37. At the halfway point only about three or four seats separated the two crews, but with favor to Yale. Yale stepped out slowly but surely, and with a five-seat lead heading into the last 500 the Bulldogs really turned it on. Yale won in 6:01.6, a length ahead of Dartmouth in 6:04.6.
In the second varsity eight Yale was again on the inside. The Bulldogs had a six seat lead going into the second 500 and broke open by the half despite Dartmouth making a big move around the turn. Yale crossed the line in 5:50.5, the fastest time of the day. Dartmouth finished two lengths behind in 5:56.2.
By the time the varsity eight went off a slight headwind had started to blow. The Bulldogs, however, handled the conditions famously and rowed a clean race down their home course. Yale's time was 5:54.5 to Dartmouth's 5:59.6, a gap over twice as big as last year's margin of victory.
The last race of the day was a 4V/2F exhibition race. In the past, each of these two programs have not always had enough depth to field a fourth varsity eight, and that both of them were able to send one down the course on Saturday is good sign of more fast racing to come in future years. In the worst conditions of the day the Yale fourth varsity won in 6:14.9, a time that would have rivaled that of the Dartmouth third varsity. The Dartmouth fourth eight crossed the line in 6:55.6, giving Yale over a 40 second margin of victory.
With the Yale women's team sweeping Boston University and Dartmouth to claim the Class of 1985 Cup and the Yale lightweights sweeping Georgetown and MIT to claim the Joy Cup, it was a great day of racing and a great day to be a Yale rower.
The heavyweights are at home again next weekend as they host Penn and Columbia for the Blackwell Cup.
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity