April 8, 2012

Seniors Lead Charge to Defend Olympic Axe

DERBY, Conn. – For the ninth year in a row the Yale heavyweight crew team has defeated the Dartmouth Big Green to retain the Olympic Axe.  In their last home race as Bulldogs the Class of 2012 went out in style, leading their teammates to open water victories over the Big Green in both the varsity and junior varsity eights.  The Yale freshmen also claimed victory, building on the momentum they carried over from their win against Brown two weeks ago with a nine-second win over the Big Green on Saturday.

The freshmen were the only Yale crew to line up in lane two on the Shelton side at the start of the race.  Both crews came off the line clean, with the Bulldogs maintaining the advantage they had been given at the start.  Yale had a lead of about five or six seats after the turn with 750 meters left in the race, at which point the Bulldogs made a move to push their lead to open water.  Yale continued to step away in the final moments of the race, crossing the line more than nine seconds before Dartmouth.

Freshman Eight

Yale               5:45.2

Dartmouth      5:54.3

In the junior varsity race Yale started in lane one, this time a few seats down on the stagger in the Derby station.  After their starting sequence the Bulldogs had a solid shift to their base rate, and with 500 meters gone they took a move to make up the distance from the stagger.  Coming around the bend at the halfway point of the race, the Bulldogs took a move to put their bow in front.  From there Yale opened up the lead and charged the line, delivering a time more than ten seconds faster than that of the Dartmouth crew.

Second Varsity Eight

Yale               5:38.5

Dartmouth      5:48.7

As the last race of the morning, the varsity eight event was set to go off in a strong tailwind that would deliver some fast times.  Right from the first stroke the Bulldogs proved aggressive, making up the stagger around the 500-meter mark and owning a bow-stern lead before the turn.  In what was the closest margin of the day but still an open water win, Yale finished more than six seconds faster than the Big Green.  The Bulldogs posted a time that was more than a minute faster than their winning time against Brown two weeks ago, and with the win the Olympic Axe will remain at Gilder Boathouse for another year.

Varsity Eight

Yale               5:30.7

Dartmouth      5:36.9

Next week the Bulldogs hit the road to race against Columbia and Penn for the Blackwell Cup in Orchard Beach, N.Y.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity