After struggling against Princeton and Georgetown universities May 2, the GW women’s crew team made a statement by bouncing back at the Champion International Regatta May 10.
The women’s varsity eight boat won its class for the second year in a row to lead the team to the overall point trophy – the third consecutive year the women’s team has won the Champion Regatta title.
“I am very psyched about how the women performed,” GW head coach Steve Peterson said. “It’s always nice to live up to expectations, and since we’ve been nationally ranked all year, we definitely did that.”
In earning the gold medal, the varsity eight boat posted the best time in qualifying heats at 6:40.22 and then beat Ithaca College by more than five seconds in a time of 6:37.16.
Earlier in the season, the varsity eight boat appeared to be assured of an NCAA bid before losses to both Princeton and Georgetown. Now the fate of the boat rests in the hands of the selection committee, which will announce this week the teams and boats invited to the NCAA Championships to be held May 28-30. The team is battling with Yale University, Rutgers University and two West Coast schools for the last at-large bid, Peterson said.
“It would be a disappointment for me and for them, I think, if we don’t make it to NCAAs,” Peterson said. “They’ve worked hard all year long, and it would be a shame if one loss to Georgetown, of all teams, ruined our chances.”
While earlier losses to Michigan State University and the University of Virginia were acceptable, the team’s latest losses may keep the boat out of NCAAs, Peterson said
The rest of the women’s boats also performed well at the regatta. The novice eight registered the fourth fastest time in the qualifying heats (7:00.75) before finishing in second place in the grand final for its class, only two seconds behind the University of Texas at Austin.
The varsity lightweight eight and the second varsity eight both earned bronze medals in their respective finals. The lightweight boat (7:05.09) finished about four seconds off Texas-Austin’s pace, while the junior varsity boat (7:01.86) came in five seconds behind Boston College.
GW’s men’s team did not fare as well as the women’s. The novice eight boat led GW with a fourth-place finish in the grand final, while the second varsity eight placed sixth, almost 30 seconds behind the winning University of Michigan boat.
The only team Peterson said he was not pleased with on the men’s side was the varsity eight, which won the third level final but finished 13th overall.
“Expectations were pretty high coming into the season, but I expected a little trouble because of inexperience,” Peterson said. “They’re a small group of guys, but they definitely work hard, and this was probably just a case of reality setting in for them.”
Unless the women’s varsity eight boat qualifies for the NCAAs, the next and final meet for several of the men’s and women’s boats will be the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. The meet is the national championship for the men’s team, which has not yet attained varsity status with the NCAA. For women’s crew, which is recognized as a varsity sport by the NCAA, the IRAs are the equivalent of a national invitational for those teams not picked to compete in the NCAA Championships.
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