In very fast tail current conditions, the William Smith College rowing team put forth strong performances in its spring debut on the Connecticut River this morning. The Herons raced defending national champion Williams and Wellesley as well as Division I UMass and New Hampshire.
“Racing was very tight today among the DIII crews,” Head Coach Sandra Chu said. “In the varsity eight race, it was bow ball-to-bow ball for most of the race with a lot of great, competitive pressure. I think all three programs rowed very well.”
The varsity eight race featured three of the top five ranked crews in Division III: No. 1 Williams, No. 3 William Smith, and No. 5 Wellesley. The Minutewomen won the race in 6:02.24, but the intriguing race was for second. By the midpoint of the 2,000-meter course, the Herons and Blue had pulled ahead of the Ephs. Wellesley outsprinted William Smith to take second in 6:05.49, 1.33 seconds ahead of the Herons. Williams was fourth in 6:08.63, 1.81 seconds behind the Herons. The Wildcats were a distant fifth.
The Heron varsity eight was powered by Susan Tuvell, Katie Paige, Sinead Reilly, Lauren Blake-Whitney, Caroline DeWeirdt, Alyssa Trebilcock, Libby Hughes, Eliza Orrick, and Emma Dow.
UMass also took the second varsity eight race, posting a time of 6:09.65. This time the battle for second came down to Williams and William Smith. The Herons were just a couple of seats down to the Ephs halfway down the course, but Williams pulled away in the second 1,000, finishing in 6:16.79. The Herons crossed the line at 6:18.73. Wellesley (6:31.31) and New Hampshire (6:43.51) rounded out the field.
William Smith’s third varsity eight of Katie Lehmann, Alex Belden, Rachel Rosenberg, Emily Andersen, Kristen Brayden, Anola Stage, Nora Burd, Megan Miskovsky, and Samantha Fresh won a head-to-head duel with UMass, logging a winning time of 6:14.0, nine seconds ahead of the Minutewomen.
The final race of the day was the novice eight race. The Blue won in 6:23.22 followed by the Herons (6:26.08), the Ephs (6:33.01) and the Minutewomen (6:49.49).
“Overall, racing today showed me how adaptable the team is,” Chu said. “We have been on the water so little this season, and I didn’t see technical weaknesses because of that. We also learned that the team is deep based on our ability to put out a highly competitive 3V and 1N.”
Today’s racing was originally scheduled for Saratoga Springs, N.Y., but lingering ice on Fish Creek forced a change of plans. “We’re very grateful to UMass for opening their boathouse and course to us,” Chu said.
William Smith is back on the water on Saturday, April 12, when they take on Hamilton in Clinton, N.Y.