All For One: Team Effort Earns Blue Hens Third Consecutive Men's Points Trophy at Dad Vail Regatta
by Alec Walczak
For the third straight year, the Delaware Men’s Crew Team brought home the Men’s Points Trophy from the 2010 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. The grit and determination displayed from each crew in their respective grand final appearances was too much for a strong St. Josephs men’s squad to overcome; The Fightin’ Blue Hens finished a single point ahead of the Hawks to win the trophy. The crews demonstrated remarkable depth by making the grand finals in four of the five men’s eight-oared events, and showed off their extraordinary talent by earning silver medals in the Varsity Heavyweight and Varsity Lightweight races and a bronze in the Freshman Heavyweight event.
The Blue Hens kicked off racing on Friday, May 7th in all but pristine weather and ideal racing conditions on the Schuylkill River. The first boat to launch was the heavyweight 4+, one of fifty-two boats competing in the regatta’s most prolific event. The squad posted a time 6:42.736 and placed fourth, narrowly missing qualifying for the semi-finals. Dayton won the heat with a time of 6:29.663.
In the Varsity pair’s race, Delaware placed sixth in their heat with a time of 7:39.368. They fell to the eventual silver medalist crew from St. Thomas, who crossed the line first in 7:00.330.
The Junior Varisty Heavyweight 8+ showed speed and determination by nipping at the heels of top ranked crews from Temple, Marietta, and Jacksonville throughout a hotly contested and talent-laden heat. Unfortunately the newly assembled crew comprised entirely of lightweights finished a disappointing fourth against heavier opponents to miss a grand finals appearance. They finished with a time of 6:23.097; the fourth fastest time posted by any JV crew that day.
The first heat of the Novice Lightweight 8+ proved to be one the Friday’s most nail-biting, as Delaware’s bow ball crossed the line by a mere two-tenths of a second ahead of the University of Rochester. Their pivotal third place finish allowed them to qualify for the grand final the following day, where they would finish in fifth position with a time of 6:49.287.
The Novice Heavyweight 8+, the forth-seeded team in their event, defied odds by finishing first in their Saturday morning semi-final after easily qualifying in their Friday heat. In an epic showdown, the crew earned a bronze medal in the grand final. The boat comprised entirely of walk-on athletes were narrowly outdistanced by boats from St. Josephs (6:03.690) and Drexel (6:05.530). The Blue Hen’s crossed the line in 6:05.644.
In Friday’s racing, the Varsity Lightweight 8+ won their heat in a commanding pace with time of 6:20.214, besting Michigan State and Marietta College by 2.3 and 6 seconds respectively. In the grand final on Saturday, the crew would find themselves also competing against Mother Nature; Powerful headwinds and white caps plagued the entire course. Delaware’s crew, a boat comprised of six freshmen, jumped out to a two-seat lead against top competition from Mercyhurst College in the first five hundred meters. During the middle thousand, the Lakers crept back up and gained a six-seat advantage heading into the final five hundred. Mercyhurst, Marietta, and Saint Josephs capitalized on wind protection in their lanes from Saint Peter’s Island for two hundred and fifty meters; Mercyhurst extended their lead to eight seats and Saint Josephs took a one-seat advantage for silver medal position. The Fightin’ Blue Hens were not to be denied though, as they closed out with a sprint that walked them through the Hawks to regain control of second place. However, a veteran Mercyhurst crew leaned on national-team caliber experience to hold onto the lead, finishing a mere 2.8 seconds ahead of UD. The lightweight boat crossed the line with a time of 6:22.402.
In their Friday heat, Delaware’s Varsity Heavyweight 8+ was looking to make a statement that its unseeded position was no reflection of its speed. The Hen’s did just that by posting a blistering fast time of 5:41.988, finishing ahead of Brock University (5:44.390) and second-ranked Temple University (5:47.512). After relegating the Owls to the repechage races with their five-second victory, Delaware dismantled a furious effort to once again beat them by 2.5 seconds in Saturday morning’s semi-final. They earned a berth and seemingly advantageous lane in the premier event’s grand final. Yet the final race of the 2010 Dad Vail Regatta was marred with head winds gusting up to 40 mph and extremely precarious racing conditions. Delaware’s Blue Hens did their best in a poorly protected lane, and managed to finish in second place (6:34.672) behind fierce competition from Brock who won with a time of 6:28.350. This silver medal finish matched Delaware’s best performance in the Varsity Heavyweight 8+ event in team history.
2010 Aberdeen Dad Vail Photo Album
|Dad Vails 2010|
Update: Check out our featured article in UDaily! [UDaily]