Georgetown’s lightweight crew team has spent its entire season preparing for one thing: Eastern Sprints. Even though the crew team is winless so far this season, they are by no means out of the competition. One sign of hope for the team is last weekend’s meet against Princeton and Penn where the Hoyas lost to top ranked Princeton by only 2.4 seconds in the varsity race. The win was Princeton’s 20th straight regular season victory. Although the Hoyas couldn’t win the varsity race, they managed to pull off a victory in the combination 4Varsity/2Freshman race, beating Princeton by over four seconds.
The race taught the Hoyas that even though they came up short, there is no reason to give up on the season. The crew team has been practicing nonstop since September to prepare for the playoffs. Although the regular season didn’t go as well as they had hoped, the team is not demoralized since their league is so competitive.
“It became clear that there aren’t one or two dominating crews in the league, and the win at the championship race can go to any team that wants it the most,” sophomore rower Stephen Kendall said.
Before looking ahead, the lightweight crew team is looking to fix some technical flaws, including their execution of race plan and stroke technique, over the next few weeks. As a result of their hard work the team is reaching their postseason speed. In prepartion for the Eastern Sprints, the team has added extra workouts to their traditional early morning practices.
The seniors on the team have provided the younger varsity crew members with inspiration to work harder. The sophomores spent the year adjusting to the complicated “varsity technique” from a much more simplified freshman stroke, with the seniors pushing them to catch up.
“They have had an immense impact over the team. This particular group has been fantastic about unifying the team and creating a team culture so that every rower feels like they are a comfortable part of this family,” Kendall said.
The team’s top 12 varsity members improved a lot over the winter training, which has inspired those below them to work even harder.
In a match on April 18th against Navy and Delaware, the Hoyas were in last place with only 500 meters left, but were able to catch Delaware to take second place with a time of 6:06.3. The time was just three seconds behind third ranked Navy and two seconds ahead of Delaware.
These recent results have been consistent with their earlier season races. The team opened the season with a four-second loss to Princeton at the Fosburgh Cup and an under one second loss to Yale on April 10.
The team has reason to hope for a solid postseason performance, especially since their training regimen is designed for them to peak during the post season, while some other schools taper towards the end of the year. For the Hoyas, their best is still yet to come.
The close competition among the teams in the league means that anyone can take home the hardware in the postseason. The first race will be the Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Massachusetts on May 16.
Georgetown has never won the Eastern Sprints, but hopes to pull off a victory nonetheless. Last year Princeton went home triumphant, but the Hoya’s recent close races with them make the team hopeful.
“Our goal is to have a better race than our last race. If we row to our potential, if we row the way we practiced, we can win,” Kendall said.
The lightweight crew team has not seen this season as a disappointment, but rather as a linear improvement, which leads into these final two meets. Kendall also said that there have been no high or low points so far this season since they are hoping to get their season highlights in the postseason.
“Our heart is there to win it, and we want it the most.”
Both the lightweights and heavyweights will head up to Worcester to face the rest of the EARC crews May 16 for the historic Eastern Sprints.