Crew teams race on national stage against top opponents

The men’s squad fell to national champion UW as the women’s squad raced ahead of Radcliffe

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The men’s and women’s crew teams each had dual road races over the weekend against highly-ranked competitors. The No. 2 men’s team traveled to Seattle to face No. 1 University of Washington, which won each of the four races between the squads. The No. 12 women’s team faced No. 11 Harvard on the Charles River, with Brown coming away with victories in three of the four races.

On Saturday, amidst strong winds and choppy waters, the men’s first freshman eight boat was swept off the course early in the 2000-meter sprint and finished with a time of 6:25.63, over 28 seconds behind the time of Washington’s first freshman eight boat.

Co-captain Owen Traynor ’13 called the conditions particularly difficult for the freshmen.

“The freshmen had to deal with the worst conditions,” Traynor said. “In the first 500 meters, they said that their boat nearly swamped, and they had a hard time recovering from that.”

After observing the effect of the conditions in the freshman matchup, race officials decided to shorten the varsity races to 1750 meters, a distance Traynor said he had never raced before. In the race between the first varsity eight boats, Bruno fell to Washington by just over three seconds. In a separate race, Brown’s second varsity eight boat lost to Washington’s second and third varsity eight boats.

In the final match of the day, the freshmen were allowed to redo their earlier race, though the Bears still fell to the Huskies by over 14 seconds.

The men’s varsity boats had been undefeated this season before the losses to the Huskies — it was not the first time Washington had beaten a highly-seeded Brown squad. At last year’s national championships, Washington bested Brown in two events before becoming the national champion, relegating the Bears to silver medal status.

“I definitely think that there is a rivalry budding,” Traynor said. Head Coach Paul Cooke and Washington Head Coach Michael Callahan “hope that this turns out into a nice rivalry,” Traynor said.

Despite going winless on the day, Traynor said the team still feels it can compete against Washington at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships next month. Though at last year’s dual race Washington’s first varsity boat bested Brown’s by “something closer to seven seconds,” Brown finished only narrowly behind at the national championships, he said. The head-to-head difference from this year was 3.29 seconds.

Traynor added that the squad is excited about the prospect of facing Washington again at the IRA National Championships.

“I definitely look forward to that, and I know everyone on the team looks forward to it,” Traynor said. “They are perennially one of the fastest — if not the fastest — program in the country.”

Though the men’s team lost each of its four battles, the women’s squad was able to capture three out of four victories against Harvard’s women’s crew team, which still races under the name Radcliffe — a historic holdover from the 1976 merger between the athletic departments of Harvard and Radcliffe College. The women’s crew squad at Radcliffe was the only athletic team that voted not to adopt the Harvard name and colors, instead opting to maintain its Radcliffe black and white.

In the marquee matchup, Brown’s first varsity eight defeated Radcliffe’s varsity eight by under two seconds. The third varsity eight boat also defeated its Radcliffe counterpart. But Brown’s second varsity eight fell to Radcliffe’s second squad.

In the varsity four race, which featured A and B boats each from Brown and Radcliffe, Bruno again proved victorious, with its A boat beating both Harvard’s A and B boats. Brown’s B boat brought up the rear.

The women’s team will face off against University of Rhode Island at home on the Seekonk River April 13, while the men’s team will travel to the Charles River to race against the Harvard Crimson.


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