While this year’s spring weather may come as a novelty to some, it is not so much the same for Wesleyan crew. Fortunately, a beautiful, crystal clear sky returned to the Northeast last Saturday, and both teams finally enjoyed a good row in the sunshine. The men’s team finished their first competition of the spring by defeating the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) in all three races, and the women’s team traveled to Philadelphia and competed against teams from all three NCAA divisions.
The men’s team traveled to New London, Conn., for their first race of the spring. The Cardinals’ Varsity Eight (V8) had the closest race of the day, in which they kept building their momentum till the end to edge ahead of the USCGA V8 by three seconds. While they clocked in at 5:38, the second V8 of the Birds showed no fear and finished with a close record of 5:44 to defeat USCGA’s second boat. Wesleyan also had a third V8 boat clock in at 6:10, followed by USCGA, which crossed the finish line in 6:35.
Men’s Head Coach Phil Carney said that he was content with this baseline beginning of the season.
“It was a terrific way to start the season. The team did a great job as a whole despite very poor water conditions,” Carney wrote in an email to The Argus. “Our captains, Chris Wyckoff ’18 and Teddy Shadek ’18 have done a great job in preparing the team in the off-season. Most remarkably, our first-year student-athletes performed extremely well in their first collegiate race and were critical to our success in all our boats.”
While every team would like to have more support from the Wesleyan community, Carney did admit that the case is very special for crew and it is likely to remain the same throughout the semester.
“Following the crew live takes a little effort as we rarely race on the CT River due to spring floods and high fast water,” he wrote. “We are generally a short drive to the races, most of which take place on Saturday mornings. Our full schedule can be found on the Men’s Crew website through the Wesleyan Athletic Department.”
When asked about the seasonal aim he set for the team, Carney reiterated his confidence in his athletes while providing detailed information for those who are new to the sport.
“We aim to peak at our championship races, the New England Rowing Championships, and the National Invitational Collegiate Regatta, which take place in May in Worcester, MA. Our standing goal is to come home from these regional and national championship races with medals in all of our crews.”
As for the women’s team, the competition was much fiercer, as they faced the challenge from a number of top teams at the 36th Memorial Murphy Cup in Philadelphia, Penn. In the women’s Division I, the Cardinals’ V8 had a great start and qualified for the Grand Final to finish sixth with a time of 7:35, only 17 seconds behind Drexel University, the title winner. In the women’s Division II/III V8, Wesleyan’s 2V boat demonstrated an enormous amount of fight, grit, and tenacity to claim a fourth-place finish in a close competition with Bryn Mawr College. They clocked in at 8:22, a little behind the third-place finisher (8:13). In comparison, the title race in the Junior V8 was not so much of a close-fought battle, as the Cardinals came to the top with a time of 7:44, well ahead of second place Fordham (7:49).
After a few days of cooling down and reflection, first-year Meghan Heffernan was able to provide a concise and thoughtful evaluation of her team’s performance.
“I feel like we pulled very hard and did what we needed to do, although the conditions were really rough because there were lots of waves and winds,” Heffernan said. “Our coxswains were incredible, as always, as well as all our rowers. We’ve been working hard so far, and hopefully, we will not be losing our betting shirt this weekend.”
Speaking of the ways in which students can support her team, Heffernan prepared some creative and useful tips for the audience who has yet to experience the charm of this sport.
“To follow and support the crew team, the best way is definitely to follow our Instagram account,” she said. “Our official one is called ‘weswomenscrew,’ and the unofficial one is called ‘wescrewsnax’. So, besides checking out our Facebook page, that’s another really fun way to see what the team is doing every day. Also, you might want to just give a little love to our local rowers when you meet them on campus because they really need it the spring season. To be honest, it’s hard to go to the races because they are all over the place, but if you happened to be in Boston or somewhere else, just don’t hesitate to swing by. Last but not the least, if you have any question feel free to ask any rower, we are always happy to talk about crew.”
Heffernan also revealed her team’s aim of the season with a surprisingly calm and determined voice.
“We’d like to medal at the NCAAs,” she said.
Support for the team can start by following them on Instagram and build upward by attending one of their fundraising events or simply going on a trip with them to Worcester, Mass., this Saturday. For your information, the weather forecast predicts a temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
Henry Yang can be reached at email@example.com.