The William Smith College rowing team got its spring racing season off to an impressive start, with a sweep of four races on the Genesee River. The Herons won each race by at least 14 seconds.
Snow melt created strong head current, which, combined with head wind, made for a slow race course. As a result, the course was shortened to 1,700 meters, but times replicated a 2K effort.
The novice eight of Alyssa Deem, Kylie Wyskochil, Elizabeth Warren, Emily Smith, Emily O’Brien, Katherine Hesler, Alexandra Townsend, Monika von Brauchitsch, and Tamsin Smith primed the waters with a 22.69-second win over the field, building a lead in the first 700 meters of the race and pulling away over the remaining 1,000 meters.
Head Coach Sandra Chu said of the crew, “They were aggressive and technically sound and their race showed a maturity atypical of novice crews.”
In the varsity eight race, William Smith raced in Lane 3 and coxswain Susan Tuvell maximized her crew’s speed off the start to build the cushion her boat needed as they went through the turns. Responding to her urgency, Emma Dow, Emily Andersen, Caroline DeWeirdt, Karoline Loretan, Sophia Wensberg, Anola Stage, Laurie VanBenschoten, and Alex Belden handed her seat after seat, increasing the lead even as they rounded the outside of the turns. By the time they hit the last turn, the boat had an open water advantage over the field. The Herons, ranked seventh in the nation in the latest CRCA poll, used the remaining 500 meters to go for more and finished the race 20.73 seconds over No. 15 Rochester and 27.71 seconds over St. Lawrence.
The second varsity eight race began with a false start and got called back. Lanes were reassigned in the chute as the coxswains struggled to keep their points in the wind and current. At the 700 meter mark, William Smith missed its lane buoy and was assessed a 10-second penalty. Rachael Brown, Carissa Boire, Morgan Burgess, Paige Brunner, Jennifer Sullivan, Aly Clark, Maggie Santinelli, Eliza Orrick, and Nicole Guardino also built a great second-half race like their teammates, and walked away from Rochester. Even with the penalty, the Herons defeated Rochester by 14.4 seconds.
With three wins on the board, the novice four set off down the course, doubling three athletes out of the novice eight. Brianna Taylor and Lauren Pomerantz joined Emily Smith, O’Brien, and Warren. They were locked in a close race through the midway point of the race with the Yellowjackets and Saints. They used the second half to grab onto and extend a lead, winning over the field by 18.84 seconds.
“Our objective today was to race with smart hearts,” Chu said. “We’ve been trying to put together our technical skills with an aggressive attitude, especially following our scrimmage in Georgia. While pleased with our results, I know that those wins are the result of our complete focus on our goals of being technically sound and much more aggressive. Each and every athlete today had a hand in this. I don’t think I’ve seen the entire team perform with this much focus before. It was a privilege to see the Herons row with one goal, one focus throughout the entire program.”
William Smith will be back on the water on Saturday, April 4, when they compete in Geneva, New York, against No. 3 Wellesley, No. 5 Washington (Md.), and New Hampshire.