BOSTON, Mass. - The Dartmouth women's crew team opened the 2012 season in impressive fashion winning all four races against Northeastern and Columbia on the Charles River on Saturday (March 31).
"This was an good first test for our crews," said head coach Wendy Levash. "I was really proud of the tenacity we displayed in our racing, particularly in our second varsity four and second varsity eight. We are pleased to come away with four wins, but we did not execute to the best of our technical ability. We are very much a work in progress and have lots of room for improvement."
Dartmouth looked impressive in each of its races in its season-opener, and provided the most exciting finish in the first varsity eight race. With the host Northeastern Huskies jumping out to an early lead, Dartmouth took a one-length lead over the Huskies entering the second 500 of the race and seemed to be rowing at a very high stroke rate.
The Big Green maintained their lead and seemed to have a solid rhythm heading into the 1000-meter mark and held about a six-seat lead. Both boats had a length lead over Columbia at the start of the second half of the race.
Northeastern stared to move on the Big Green and made for an exciting race in the final 500 meters. The last 500 meters saw the Huskies push all the way back into the Big Green and the race was nearly even entering the final 350 meters.
Entering the home stretch Dartmouth opened up a solid sprint sequence and held off the Huskies despite a late push from the host school, Dartmouth pulled of the sweep crossing the finish line with a time of 6:29.30, just five tenths of a second ahead of Northeastern who took second with a time of 6:29.70. Columbia came in third with a time of 6:34.8.
In the second varsity eight race it looked as if the Big Green had a little trouble at the start of the race, catching a small crab but Dartmouth straightened out and got right back into the race without losing too much ground. In a tight race early, Columbia had the early lead as the Big Green started to inch their way into the Lions meter-by-meter.
Dartmouth, sitting in second place entering the 1,000-meter mark by about four seats, started to make a move entering the second half of the race. The Big Green started to give the Lions a run for first place with a very even race into the second half. At the 750-meter mark, Dartmouth took a move and found themselves only down by about 2-3 seats, entering the final 500.
The Big Green took a slight advantage over the Lions and started walking through the Lions shell by starting their sprint early, around the 300-meter mark, which really helped them pull away. Columbia reacted to the first move but when Dartmouth took another move, Columbia couldn't react.
With a half a length advantage over Columbia, in the final 200 the Big Green kept moving and just really pushed through their sprint sequence and picked up Dartmouth's third win of the day. The Big Green took the race with a time of 6:40.4,edging out Columbia who crossed the finish line in second place with a time of 6:42.6. Northeastern finished in third with a time of 6:55.5.
In the first four race, the Huskies jumped out to small lead, but the Big Green settled into their starting rhythm and started pushing into the Northeastern crew and heading into the second 500 meter mark, Dartmouth held about a three seat advantage over Northeastern as both Dartmouth and Northeastern held open water over Columbia.
With both teams stroking at a high level, Dartmouth had about a slight open water lead over Northeastern heading into the second 1,000. The Big Green continued to extend it lead and had open water over Columbia and Northeastern entering the last 500.
At the 300-meter mark, Northeastern and Columbia tried to push back into the Big Green but Dartmouth's sprint sequence, and a slight move at the 500-meter mark kept them ahead as the Big Green picked up their second win of the afternoon with a time of 7:36.3, well ahead of Columbia who took second place with a time of 7:40.80.
In the first race of the day, the second varsity four, host Northeastern jumped out to a big lead and left the Big Green and Lions to chase them throughout the race. At the 1,000-meter mark the Big Green started to make a move and overtook the Huskies. Dartmouth started its sprint early and after being down by several seats early, walked through the Huskies while Columbia also overtook Northeastern in the second half of the race.
Dartmouth, who pulled ahead by about three seats, battled with Columbia in the final 500 meters of the race maintaining just a two seat lead entering the home stretch but the Big Green pulled off the win, defeating the second-place Lions with a time of 7:51.80, to Columbia's 7:52.60.
Dartmouth is back on the water next weekend in New Haven, Conn., for the Class of 1985 Cup. The Big Green will battle Yale and Boston University and look to bring home the Class of 1985 Cup for the first time since 1998.
First Varsity Eight
1. Dartmouth - 6:29.3
2. Northeastern - 6:29.7
3. Columbia -6:34.8
1. Dartmouth - 6:40.4
2. Columbia - 6:42.6
3. Northeastern - 6:55.5
First Varsity Four
1. Dartmouth -7:36.3
2. Columbia -7:40.8
3. Northeastern -7:45.9
1. Dartmouth - 7:51.8
2. Columbia - 7:52.6
3. Northeastern - 8:02.7