The GW men’s varsity crew team is 11-0 and has head coach Gene Kininmonth predicting a great season after an overwhelmingly successful weekend of racing April 7-8.
“When this crew is in form they are absolutely on fire,” Kininmonth said. “It is still early but I think this crew could be one of the special ones to come out of this University in recent years.”
Kininmonth might find out this weekend just how strong his crew team is. GW is slated to host some tough opponents at the GW Invitational Crew Classic, which was canceled last year because of the World Bank and IMF protests. The Colonials will race against local rival Georgetown, which swept GW last May, as well as the University of Virginia, Temple, the U.S. Naval Academy and Trinity College on the Potomac River.
“The caliber of crews we are facing this weekend is more competitive,” senior captain Brendan Gilbert said. “We knew we had to beat those teams last weekend. We needed to do it.”
So far GW men’s crew has dominated. GW cruised through heats at the Occoquan Sprints Regatta in Lorton, Va. April 8 to qualify for the final in the varsity eight race. Rowing in a new boat, “The Wedge,” GW beat out Drexel University, Johns Hopkins University and the College of William & Mary. In the finals GW beat out Duke University and Drexel by more than three boat lengths.
“At 11-0 my biggest concern is that this crew has not been pushed by an opponent,” Kininmonth said. “So far they have handled the opposition with absolute ease. Now I would like to see how the crew can perform under some serious pressure in a big race.”
In the men’s first novice eight final, GW’s “A” boat took first place in 6:24.50 ahead of Drexel (6:26.70). GW’s “B” boat won the second novice final with a time of 6:50.60. Virginia Tech took second with a time of 7:17.20.
The previous day, GW dominated on the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass., with wins in the varsity eight beating out Wesleyan University, which finished in 6:19.84, followed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a time of 6:24.22 and Colby College took fourth with a time of 6:31.90.
The team has marked May 31 to June 2 on their calendar. That’s when the crew will travel to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta in Camden, N.J. The team said they want to improve on last year’s silver medal.
“The team morale is unbelievable this year,” Gilbert said. “Everyone is so committed to being the best. The level of commitment this year is something I haven’t seen in this crew program in a few years.”