Women’s rowing finds redemption at Sprints Regatta
This Sunday, the women’s rowing team competed in the Women’s Sprints Regatta, sending four teams from the five events they competed in to the grand finals. The collegiate eight team took home 13th place after winning the third-level finals, while the second and third-place varsity eight teams each took home third-place medals.
When the team went to the start, the conditions were fair and allowed for smooth, competitive racing. The Red Uni four B-Team scored third place in their run and earned a spot in the grand finals. The team finished fifth overall in 7:36.3, three seconds behind fourth-place Harvard-Radcliffe.
The Reds found similar success in the Varsity Four A. After winning his run, Cornell secured a fourth-place finish in the grand final, his time being 7:48.5.
Later in the contests, the Reds’ third varsity eight finished a close second in his heat after Rutgers moved forward and won the heat by a 4 second lead over Cornell. Despite this, the team secured a spot in the grand finals. The competition was fierce, but the team finished third, storming the finish line just two seconds ahead of Columbia.
In the second varsity eight, the Reds secured another third place in the grand final. After winning his run with an impressive time of 6:43.1, Cornell advanced to the grand finals. After battling Boston for third place, the Reds emerged with the title after edging the Terriers across the finish line by a split second.
In the Reds’ final competition, the Varsity Eight advanced to the third tier final, edging out Boston, Colgate and Holy Cross to win the race. Her time of 7:15.7 placed her 13th out of 17 teams.
Head coach Steven Coppola stated that the Reds’ results were favorable given the Reds’ bumpy return to the competition early in the spring season.
“We feel like the team has made some progress and evolved,” said Coppola. “It feels good to have something on paper that backs that up.”
The team’s struggles this season stem in part from their youth and inexperience with Ivy League competitors. Due to the COVID-19 cancellations in previous years, most team members have the same experiences as their freshman members. Coppola said the team’s largest classes are freshmen and sophomores.
“We have this inexperience of not being able to race and also this literal inexperience,” Coppola said. “I think what’s happening now is that the team is starting to figure out what the requirements are for racing at this level. The development is starting to take hold and certainly makes people excited not only for the present but also for the future.”
In their efforts to improve, the team has focused on isolating problems within each boat and bringing home solutions for each boat.
“We draw our attention and laser into it,” Coppola said. “In each of the boats, we sit down and choose what we work on and really delve deeper. I think it certainly helps narrow the focus a bit.”
After making efforts to improve, the team hopes to repeat similar good results at the Ivy League championships later this season.
“It definitely feels like we’re on the hunt,” said Coppola. “I think if we have a good regatta next week we can put it on paper and show the rankings a little bit better. Ultimately, we feel like we’re improving, but your feelings don’t mean squats unless you put it on paper.”
Coppola also stated that regardless of the team’s efforts, it’s plausible that results will primarily depend on luck. With events split into heats, the fate of the Reds will likely depend on who they face in each heat and how they stack up against each competitor as they battle for a spot in the grand finals.
“We’ve seen in the different classes that we can differentiate your Harvard and your Columbia classes,” Coppola said. “But you’re not guaranteed to go up against them in the heat and you’ve got to race who you’ve got – it’s going to be interesting.”
The team will approach the championships with the intention of achieving the highest possible finish for each boat. Since every boat has the potential to earn points, every crew matters.
“We’re focused on being strong across the team,” said Coppola. “Obviously we want the varsity eight to be as quick as possible, but we want to celebrate each boat’s wins because they represent the future of the team.”
The Ivy League Championships begin Sunday, May 15 at 8:00 am in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.