Lightweights Ready to Begin Spring Racing Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Almost a year after winning the national championship, the Yale lightweight crew team will take the first step in defending its title Saturday. The Y150 will begin its spring season on Saturday, Mar. 31, with a race against Navy for the Johnson cup. This will kick off a two-month stretch of races where Yale will compete nearly every weekend, culminating in Eastern Sprints and the IRA National Championship.

The Bulldogs will be looking to build on the successes of the fall season, when they competed in the Head of the Housatonic, Head of the Charles and the Princeton Chase. At the Head of the Housatonic, the varsity eight finished first in two different races. Following that, the varsity eight finished fifth at the Head of the Charles. In addition, two Yale fours finished second and third on the Charles. The Bulldogs concluded their fall season with the Princeton Chase, where the varsity finished fourth, the freshman finished second among lightweight crews, and the "B" boat finished first among "B" boats.
 
Since then, the Y150 has been hard at work preparing for the spring races. During the cold winter months, the Bulldogs have spent a lot of time working indoors in Tank A in Payne Whitney Gymnasium. As the weather warmed up, they moved back outdoors to the Housatonic. The mild winter has resulted in less snow melt, which led to better water time. The Bulldogs have fully capitalized on this better water, making strides over spring break.
 
"We had a great winter training period," said captain David Walker. "The underclassmen really stepped up and put positive upward pressure on the entire squad. The entire lightweight league looks very fast this year. We are looking forward to testing ourselves this spring against the best. We had a very productive spring training camp that ended with a scrimmage against Trinity College, which was a great opportunity to test our speed. The search for speed continues and judgment day will come soon."
 
Yale will begin its regular season this Saturday, Mar. 31, competing against Navy for the Johnson Cup, help on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J. Last year, the Bulldogs defeated Navy in four of five events, including the varsity eight to capture the Johnson Cup. The Cup has been around for eight years, with the schools splitting the series.
 
After the Johnson Cup, the Bulldogs race against MIT and Georgetown on Apr. 7, on the Charles River in Boston, Mass. They are competing against MIT for the Joy Cup. Last year, Yale swept all four races.
Next, Yale will have a double header on Apr. 14. In the morning, the Bulldogs will compete against Penn and Columbia for the Dodge Cup. Yale has held onto the Dodge Cup since 2003 and has won in 30 of the last 32 years. Later that afternoon, the Bulldogs travel to Princeton, N.J., to race against Cornell, which it defeated last year.

The following weekend, Yale races against Dartmouth for the Durand Cup. Yale will be looking to avenge last year's loss and recapture the Durand Cup.

Yale then concludes its regular season with the Harvard-Yale-Princeton regatta on Apr. 28. The race will be held on the Housatonic River, Yale's home course. The Bulldogs will be looking to claim the Goldthwait Cup in the varsity eight and the Vogel Cup for overall team standings. Yale will be looking to improve on last year's third-place finish.

After a weekend off, the Bulldogs will commence the championship season with the Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Mass. Last year, Yale capped undefeated seasons in the third varsity and first freshmen boats with victories at this race. In addition, the varsity crew medaled, finishing third.
 
The Y150 then concludes its season at the IRA National Championship in Camden, N.J., where they will defend their title, edging Harvard by .02 seconds last year.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity