DERBY, Conn. – The Olympic Axe Trophy has never left the Gilder Boathouse. The Yale Heavyweight Crew can put a new shine on the trophy today after taking the Axe with one of the faster times they will see this year on the Housatonic River. The Bulldogs' first varsity defeated Dartmouth by a little more than eight seconds to open the home spring racing season.
The Blue came in at 5:19.1 while the Big Green crossed the finish at 5:27.6 in a race that began about 8:45 AM. Yale' second varsity (5:23.4) won by nearly as much over the boys in the Green shirts (5:30.6).
Everyone took advantage of strong currents and a nice tailwind on a cold day with bright sunshine.
"We are delighted by the aggressiveness and the way we finally were setting into a good rhythm," said Steve Gladstone, Yale's Craig W. Johnson '68 Head Coach. "It's really hard to get away from a crew in these conditions, and it's pretty hard to go much faster than that."
The Eli 1V began at 43-stroke per minute pace which took them from being down two seats to about a seven-seat advantage at 400 meters. They toned it down slightly on the way to the halfway point, but the guys in the Class of 1983 boat were still able to push the lead to open water.
The Yale guy navigating the course helped his boat progress to a length of open water for the last 500 meters.
"Conditions were really fast, so it's hard to take a big margin," said junior coxswain Grant Louis. "It was a different approach today, we were just trying to throw it down and race a full piece… go as hard as we could and push ourselves physically. Not our best piece, but we are really happy with the way it ended up."
The Elis easily won the third varsity race (results on available yet), but the fourth boat (5:39) narrowly defeated Dartmouth (5:40.9).
by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – email@example.com