May 29, 2009
CHERRY HILL, N.J. - All three Yale boats advanced to Saturday's semifinals on the opening day of the 2009 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships. The varsity four won its morning heat with a time of 7:29.83, while the varsity eight and second varsity eight both placed second. The top three finishers in each heat automatically qualify for the semifinals.
"We're off to a good start," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "We took the first step towards getting all our boats into the Grand Final."
The varsity four of coxswain Sarah Brownlee, Mary Pat Wixted, Elizabeth McDermott, Stephanie Madner and Karrin Weisenthal turned in the most impressive performance of the day for the Bulldogs, finishing nearly three seconds ahead of second-place Michigan. Washington was third in 7:32.72. Yale led after 500 meters and never looked back.
"I was very pleased with the four's performance," Porter said. "They rowed a well-executed race."
The two-time defending NCAA champion varsity eight had the most difficulty. The Bulldogs' time of 6:32.30 was less than two seconds faster than third-place Washington (6:34.30) and a little more than two seconds better than fourth-place Harvard (6:34.80). Yale was third at the halfway point but overtook Washington by the 1500-meter mark. No. 1 ranked Stanford was a wire-to-wire winner in 6:27.60.
"The varsity eight needs to do more in the first half of the race, but I thought they showed good composure," Porter said.
The second varsity of coxswain Mia Kanak, Emily Matykiewicz, Allix Wilde, Dara Dickson, Armine Afeyan, Alexandra Thompson, Lauren Richards, Rebecca Nadal and Lee Glandorf led for the first three-quarters of the race before being passed by California in the final 500 meters. Nonetheless, Yale was never in danger of not advancing. The Bulldogs finished with a time of 6:44.30, less than two seconds behind Cal, but more than four seconds ahead of third-place Stanford.
"The second varsity rowed a very nice race," Porter said. "They just need to work on finishing."
Saturday's semi-finals begin at 9 a.m. The top three finishers in each race advance to Sunday's Grand Final.
"In each event there are eight to 10 teams that are capable of making it to the Grand Final," Porter said. "There will be a lot of hard-fought races."
Varsity Eight Heat
1. Stanford 6:27.60
2. Yale 6:32.30
3. Washington 6:34.60
4. Harvard 6:34.80
5. Ohio State 6:42.80
Second Varsity Eight Heat
1. California 6:42.92
2. Yale 6:44.30
3. Stanford 6:48.42
4. USC 6:57.93
5. Princeton 7:01.74
Varsity Four Heat
1. Yale 7:29.83
2. Michigan 7:32.43
3. Washington 7:32.72
4. Stanford 7:42.36
5. Brown 7:48.75
6. Dartmouth 8:07.24
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity