May 15, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a successful dual-race season, the Yale women's crew team begins what it hopes will be a memorable post-season on Sunday at the EAWRC Sprints on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The Bulldogs' varsity eight, which is ranked third in the nation, is the No. 2 seed, behind Brown. Yale's second varsity also is seeded second, while the varsity four and varsity four B are both the top seed. The Bulldogs' novice eight is seeded sixth. Racing gets under way with the heats at 8 a.m., and the finals begin at 2:05 p.m. Live audio of the races will be available from ECAC Call of the Race.
"I always love the switch to six-boat racing. It's so exciting," said Yale senior Jamie Redman, who will sit in the No. 5 seat in the varsity eight. "The racing is much more intense. A crew might be challenged by a boat that they had beaten handily earlier in the season. In the end, the winning crew is the one that can keep all the distractions to a minimum."
The top Ivy League finisher in the varsity eight race earns the league title. Brown (No. 2), Princeton (7) and Radcliffe (8) are also nationally ranked.
"The Eastern Sprints is the greatest one-day regatta in the country," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "Of the three big regional championships [South/Central, Pac 10], the Sprints is the only one that will feature four of the top 10 teams in the country.
"Our only expectation is to perform to our ability. If we do that, I wouldn't count us out. This varsity is capable of great speed. If we row to our ability, we will be in it, and that is all we can ask for. It is a deep field this year with Brown, Princeton and Radcliffe as good as they have ever been as well as Northeastern and Dartmouth, who are both right there."
Yale hasn't raced since May 3 at Brown. The Bears won the varsity eight by nearly five seconds, handing the Bulldogs their first defeat since the 2006 season.
"The Brown race showed us that strength isn't everything. We also need an internal focus in order to achieve our maximum boat speed," Redman said. "In that way, the loss provided us with a valuable lesson and showed us where our weaknesses are. Those weaknesses have been addressed in the past two weeks, and I think the team is faster because of it."
Yale's varsity is the defending Sprints champion and has won the Grand Final in two of the last three years. Five members of last year's winning boat remain. The Bulldogs also took home the Charles Willing Jr. Team Trophy for overall supremacy at last year's Sprints.
"We are a different crew than last year. We have a different coxswain, a different stroke and different strengths," said Redman, who is in her third year in the varsity. "That being said, we definitely took some positive lessons away from last year. Last year we witnessed how hard work during the off-season can have an awesome impact during the post-season competition. This year, we took that lesson to heart. I've never seen a team go through winter training with this level of commitment and hard work."
The varsity eight will race in the second heat at 8:50 a.m. against Rutgers, Penn, Northeastern and Cornell. The top two finishers advance to the Grand Final, which is scheduled for 4:55 p.m.
The novice eight is the first Yale boat to race at 8 a.m. against George Washington, Penn, Brown and Syracuse. At 9:20 a.m., the second varsity races Rutgers, Navy, Dartmouth and Bucknell. The varsity four has Cornell, Boston University, Princeton and Columbia in its heat at 9:50 a.m. The third novice four has its heat at 10:20 a.m. The Bulldogs have two boats competing in the third varsity four B. The first races in the 10:40 a.m. heat, while the second goes off at 11 a.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity