Lightweights Open Spring Season Against Harvard While Heavyweights Start Season on Schuylkill
By Alec Walczak
Cambridge, MA, Philadelphia, PA. University of Delaware Men’s Crew kicked off their 2011 campaign as the lightweights competed against Harvard in Boston, MA and the heavyweights traveled to Philadelphia for the annual Murphy Cup regatta.
Saturday morning, five Blue Hen lightweight crews competed on the Charles River against a strong Harvard Crimson squad and brutal racing conditions. The temperature throughout all racing remained in the mid-20s, while a brisk headwind and strong head current made for choppy water and slow racing. The 1V race was the first at 9:12 AM. The top Blue Hen boat was jumped off the line by the Crimson, who steadily built an open water lead through the thousand-meter mark. While the boat remained tough and walked back through the third five hundred, it was too little as the Delaware crew finished 11 seconds back in a time of 6:47.2.
Delaware’s 2V was the next boat to race, and gained a two seat advantage after their starting sequence. Yet, the Harvard second varsity was able to regain the lead thereafter and pulled out to open water after nine hundred meters. The lead remained throughout the finish, where the Blue Hens competed the course in 7:05.1.
In a bright spot for the lightweight team, the frosh/novice 8 defeated Harvard’s 1F in a time 7:07.5, exactly five seconds ahead of the Crimson’s top freshman boat.
The 3V provided a tremendous effort in building a two seat advantage nine hundred meters into their race before a boat-stopping crab (oar stuck in water and pulled behind the rower) stifled the boat’s momentum and their lead. The boat regained its composure and was able to push through the line in 7:28.8, sixteen seconds behind Harvard’s third varsity crew.
The final race of the day was the freshman 4+. The sole Blue Hen boat competed against three Crimson crews and defeated one in a time of 8:46.6.
In Philadelphia, the heavyweight team had three boats compete on the Schuylkill River for the Murphy Cup.
Delaware’s varsity 4+ raced at 10:42 AM and finished 2nd in their heat behind Drexel’s top boat. Delaware finished in 7:03.83. The next race of the day for the Blue Hen heavies was the JV 8+. The young boat comprised of almost entirely freshman and sophomores finished the course in 6:35.32, placing them 4th in their heat.
In the main event for the Blue Hen heavyweight squad, the varsity eight competed in the second heat of the event at 1:18 PM. The 1V got off to a shaky start and found themselves down one length to Marist College early in the race. Both the Blue Hen crew and the Red Fox crew from Marist quickly broke away from the pack, and a strong push by Delaware’s top boat allowed them to cut Marist’s lead to only a couple of seats and finish in 6:00.57, placing them in the varsity eight grand final.
In the final event of the day, the Delaware varsity eight’s powerful starting sequence allowed them to pull away from the same Marist crew that narrowly defeated them in their heat and the top crew from LaSalle University. Strong crews from Virginia, Temple, and Jacksonville established themselves as the top three crews in the middle thousand. However, a resolved Delaware squad did not lie down. A furious sprint by the Blue Hens in the final 300 meters of the race saw Jacksonville’s lead evaporate from two lengths of open water to six seats. The Blue Hen’s finished only 2.39 seconds outside of a medals position in a time of 6:00.65.
Both Blue Hen squads will be in action again this weekend. The heavyweights take on the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers and Bucknell Bison this Saturday on the Raritan River. Heavyweight racing begins at 8:30am with the Varsity 8. Also on Saturday, the lightweights travel to the Schuylkill to race Penn and then to Lake Carnegie in the afternoon to compete against Columbia. AM racing for the Blue Hen lightweights starts at 9:30am with the 2nd freshman 4+. PM racing starts begins at 3:30pm for the 1st Varsity race.