Men’s and women’s rowing took to the Potomac River for the annual GW Invitational Friday and Saturday.
The women’s team competed against Drexel, MIT, Saint Joseph’s, Rhode Island and Duquesne in the 2,000-meter race, racking up four wins across two days of competition. Drexel secured the Howard W. Wilkins Bowl with a regatta-best Varsity 8 time of 6:16.80 for the women.
“Speed-wise, they were really consistent this weekend and they did what they needed to do and there were no surprises,” women’s head coach Marci Robles said. “This is where we are right now.”
The men’s squad faced off against Georgetown, Navy, Drexel, Holy Cross and the Florida Institute of Technology in the regatta.
The Colonials had an unusually quiet showing at the invitational, which GW had placed first in for the second year in a row last season. GW did not pick up a win in the first day of competition before grabbing three wins Saturday to close out the weekend.
Navy took the Oliver T. Carr Bowl with a 24-point showing on the weekend. The Colonials won all six of their races on the Potomac last season for a perfect 78-point showing.
“We hadn’t lost a race here in the past two years so I think they were just feeling that little bit of pressure of wanting to continue that streak,” men’s head coach Mark Davis said. “Instead of just focusing on rowing really well, they were too focused on what the outcome was going to be, which is never a good thing.”
The women’s team swept MIT and Saint Joseph’s on the first day of the regatta.
GW finished first against MIT after the Varsity 8 boat crossed the finish line in 6:44.70. GW’s second Varsity 8 boat beat the Engineers by about 19 seconds with a 6:49.30 split. MIT tallied a time of 7:08.80.
GW capped off the day with a sound victory over Saint Joseph’s, finishing a 7:18.00 split, completely outpacing the Hawks, who crossed the finish line in 7:50.30.
On the men’s side, GW got its first taste of competition in a tough first-race outing against Drexel in the Varsity 8. The Colonials held off the Dragons for 1,400 meters of the 2,000-meter race before catching a crab with 600 meters left in the race to ultimately fall back 5:48.50-5:45.30 to Drexel.
“With them catching a crab, it doesn’t normally happen,” Davis said. “What I was more happy about was they were able to let that race go and move on to the next race.”
The two programs went at it again in the second Varsity 8 race. The Dragons and the Colonials were separated by 0:00.50 of a second at the end of the race, with Drexel walking away with the nail-biting win.
The Colonials finished third in the third Varsity 8 race against Navy and Drexel with a 6:12.19 split and closed out competition bringing up the rear in the fourth Varsity 8 race against two Navy boats with a 6:28.00 finish. Drexel finished off the Colonials in the third Varsity 8 race Saturday to take the sweep.
The men’s team picked up back-to-back wins against Holy Cross to open up competition Saturday after outpacing the Crusaders by about six seconds in GW’s first race of the day. The Colonials then snatched a photo-finish win later in the day after edging the Crusaders by less than a second to take the victory in 5:40.10.
The Colonials faced off against the Florida Institute of Technology for the first time on the weekend in the Varsity 8 race later in the afternoon. GW nipped at the heels of the Panthers for the majority of the race, but FIT pulled ahead with less than 100 meters in the race to take the win in 5:35.40 while GW came behind with 5:39.10.
The Colonials trounced the Panthers in the second Varsity 8 race of the day, gaining an open-water lead in the final stretch of the race to cross the finish line nearly 11 seconds ahead of their opponents. GW earned a 5:48.10 split compared to FIT’s 5:59.70 showing.
The Colonials could not keep up with Navy in their final head-to-head race of the competition, dropping their final race of the regatta with a time of 5:58.10.
Rhode Island – the defending Atlantic 10 Champions – swept the Colonials in the Varsity 8, second Varsity 8 and the Varsity 4 races to open Saturday’s morning competition on the women’s side.
Later on in the day, the Colonials kept pace with Drexel through the first 500 meters of the race before the Dragons cracked open a five-second lead midway through the competition. Drexel closed in on the finish line to take the win with a 6:16.80 split while GW crossed in 6:26.50.
In the second Varsity 8 race, the Colonials and the Dragons were separated by one seat heading into the final stretch of the race. But as the two teams neared the finish line, the Dragons were able to garner enough of a bump to take the race.
The women’s team rounded out competition with a loss in the Varsity 4 race against Drexel and a win in the third Varsity 8 competition against Duquesne to close out the weekend.
On the men’s side, the Colonials will return to action against Dartmouth and Boston Saturday, while the women’s team will compete in the Cherry Hill Invite next weekend.