The three women’s boats started their day off racing NESCAC rival Tufts. Heading into Saturday’s race, the head-to-head matchup between the two crews stood at 17-6 in favor of the Cardinals. The Cards had not faced the Jumbos since 2013, but looked to come out with a win. While Wesleyan clinched wins in the 2v and 3v boats rather comfortably, Tufts took the 1v race by less than four seconds, beating the Cardinals for the first time since 2011.
“We faced some of the fastest crews, and we hung in there with them pretty well,” said Women’s Captain Emily Garvin ’15. “It was exciting for the 2v and 3v to both beat Tufts, which is a much stronger program this year than in the past. We’ll face all of these crews throughout the season, both at New Englands and ECACs, and we’ll be ready to race them and come out on top.”
In the second race, all three boats were slated to face another NESCAC foe, Bates, which is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA DIII. The Cardinals were no match for the Bobcats, who edged Wesleyan by 4.2 seconds in the 1v, 25.4 seconds in the 2v, and 13.2 seconds in the 3v.
“It was a tough day as Bates is consistently a top program,” said Captain Gillian Mahoney ‘15. “Saturday showed us we have some stuff to work on, but we are a powerful program and are committed to moving forward and improving our fitness and skill throughout the season.”
The men commenced their day with all three boats racing against the Bobcats, a team they have dominated over the years, winning five out of seven all-time meetings. Similar to the women’s performance, the men’s 2v and 3v posted convincing wins, with both boats winning by more than 10 seconds while the 1v was unable to pull out the win for the second straight year.
“The second and third boat totally dominated the competition [while] the first boat struggled against Bates,” said Men’s Captain Ethan Currie ’15. “We were pretty peeved about that first race, but we know it didn’t reflect the kind of speed we can tap into moving forward.”
With the chip from the first race on their shoulders, the Cardinals sent a statement in their second race by blowing away University of New Hampshire with a 21.2 second margin of victory. The 2v and 3v boats looked to continue their dominating performance as they got set to take on the Jumbos With two games left to play, the Cardinals (8-5, 5-3 NESCAC) are closing in on home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals demolished the Jumbos in the 2v, and were on track to do the same in the 3v until the boat was disqualified for a lane violation.
“Obviously [I was] very impressed with the 2v and 3v,” Currie said. “Not only did they dominate the margins, but they looked good doing so. When you can pull hard and make your rowing look smooth and effortless, you know you’re really onto something good.”
This is one area in which the 1v boat aims to improve on heading forward in the season.
“In the first boat, we’ve been struggling with this for a while,” Currie said. “We’re rowing really aggressively, which is great, but we [need to] relax, focus on rowing well, and trust that the aggression will be there regardless. [This] will certainly be a big focus for our boat moving forward.”
Both crews have a week to prepare before their next race, arguably their biggest regatta of the regular season, against Little Three rival Williams next Saturday, April 18. Although the Ephs have not had much time in the water due to their lake being frozen, they have been a perennial powerhouse in the sport and can never be overlooked.
“Williams is historically one of the fastest crews in the country, and it’s always safe to expect that they’re going to be strong and fast,” Garvin said. “However, we are all definitely going to show up ready to race. We just have to take each race one 500 [-meter segment] at a time, and try to be stroke for stroke. No matter what, we’ll be the hardest working crew out there, and I’m confident that this will be enough to get our bows across the finish line first.”