April 18, 2009
DERBY Conn. - Yale celebrated the 35th anniversary of women's crew on Saturday at Gilder Boathouse. The 2009 Bulldogs are hoping to make history of their own, and they took a big step toward that goal by sweeping Princeton on the Housatonic River. Yale won all five races, including the varsity eight to retain the Eisenberg Cup.
"It was the first beautiful conditions we've rowed in all spring," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "Princeton is a program we have a ton of respect for. They always produce fast crews so we are happy with the result. There are still some things we can continue to work on to reach our top speed."
The varsity eight race was the closest of the day. Yale, which is ranked first in the CRCA-USRowing national poll, finished the 2,000-meter course in 6:19.2, a little more than three seconds ahead of No. 6 Princeton.
"The varsity rowed a very poised race," Porter said. "We were pressed by Princeton, but we were steady the entire distance."
The Tigers had already finished ahead of defending Ivy League champion Brown and Radcliffe in races earlier this spring.
"We finally had some good water," said Tess Gerrand, who sits in the No. 6 seat. "Princeton gave us some trouble through the middle of the race, which makes the result all the more rewarding."
Yale cruised to victories in all the other races. The second varsity won with a time of 6:41.7. Because Princeton doesn't field a novice boat, the Bulldogs novice rowed with the second varsity and finished second in 6:48.7. Princeton came in at 6:52.3.
Yale's varsity four won by nearly 11 seconds, finishing in 7:30.5. The second varsity four (7:38.2) and third varsity four (7:13.7) also both rowed to easy wins.
In addition to the races, there were a number of festivities. Shells were dedicated honoring the 1979 varsity, which went undefeated, captured the Eastern Sprints title and Yale's first national championship, and to Carol Bower, the head coach of Bryn Mawr College. Bower, a member of the Rowing Hall of Fame, began her collegiate coaching career in 1980 as the women's novice coach at Yale. There was also a luncheon celebrating the 35th anniversary of women's crew at Yale.
"This was an amazing day for our program," Porter said. "The success we are enjoying now was built on the shoulders of those who rowed before us."
The Bulldogs will row Radcliffe and Tennessee next Saturday on the Charles River in Boston.
1. Yale 6:19.2
2. Princeton 6:22.1
1. Yale 6:41.7
2. Yale Novice 6:48.7
3. Princeton 6:52.3
Yale Novice Eight - C: Katie Munyan; 8: Catherine McDermott; 7: Elizabeth McDermott; 6: Georgia Separovich; 5: Kathleen O'Keefe; 4: Katherine Dyke; 3: Nikki Grigg; 2: Alexandra Fields; 1: Mary Jo Toothman
1. Yale 7:30.5
2. Princeton 7:41.2
Second Varsity Four
1. Yale 7:38.2
2. Princeton 7:47.8
Third Varsity Four
1. Yale 7:13.7
2. Princeton 7:50.8
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity