Crew upsets Cornell

The GW women’s crew team practice this year paid off Saturday as the women’s varsity eight boat left the Ithaca Regatta with an upset of No. 15 Cornell University for the third straight year.

GW’s victory is a big step toward a possible bid for the NCAA women’s rowing championships beginning May 26 in Camden, N.J. Next up for the women are Saturday’s home matchups against No. 10 Boston University and the United States Naval Academy beginning at 8:30 a.m. The team will race against Duke University in the early afternoon. All races will take place on the Potomac (at Thompson’s Boat Center at the end of Virginia Avenue).

The weather conditions were exceptional for Saturday’s regatta despite a slight headwind that made for slower than normal race times. In the first of the three events, Cornell dominated the Colonials. Cornell won by 13 seconds or more in each of the first three races, but its luck ran out in the final race of the day.

The GW varsity eight established an early two-seat advantage at the start over Cornell. The Colonials rowed the first 1,000 meters ahead of Cornell by almost a full boat length. Cornell managed to close the gap to just two seats over the next 500 meters, but with just 500 meters to go, the GW women rowed faster to the finish line and won the race by nearly a full boat length. GW’s time of 6:50.70 was two seconds faster than Cornell’s 6:52.74.

GW head coach Steve Peterson said he is proud of his team’s accomplishment.

I feel the varsity eight really rose to the occasion, Peterson said. They weren’t expected to beat Cornell. They weren’t having great practices the whole week leading up to the race. However, they definitely have the ability and talent to row this well all of the time, and I think maybe they were lacking a little confidence. Hopefully, this win will give them the confidence they deserve.

The men’s crew team raced at the Occoquan Sprints in Occoquan, Va., Sunday. This was the team’s first race of the season and the debut for the new men’s coach, Gene Kininmonth.

A tense moment came in the beginning of the varsity men’s eight event. One of the rowers caught a crab, which occurs when an oar gets stuck in the water. The boat must slow considerably until the team can row it out of the water. GW quickly recovered from this setback and began to move back through the competition. The team was able to overtake all of the crews except the University of Virginia.

The men took second as Virginia seized on the GW men’s early mistake. Although the men had to settle for second place to Virginia, the team said it was pleased with its performance. Next week the men will travel to Worcester, Mass., to face Wesleyan University, Colby College and the UMass.

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