By KELLY SCOTT
The Eagles rowing team competed in their second race of the season this past Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Occoquan Chase Regatta in Lorton, VA. The women raced in seven total races ranging from varsity eight’s to lightweight four’s. The men competed in four races including men’s open four, men’s open lightweight four and men’s open eight. With strong performances on all aspects including the novice’s first ever race, the Eagles performed well with all boats rowing technically much better at this point in the season than at any point last year according to Head Coach Richard Wilson.
The Eagles varsity eight boat in the open women’s eight finished the 5,000 meter-head-race course in 10th position with a time of 17:25.43. The second varsity eight came in 13th with a time of 18:26.84. The top five finishers in the race were George Mason (16:15.66), North Carolina “A” (16:17), TBC Racing (16:33.59), George Washington (16:48.97), and North Carolina “B” (16:49.4).
In another race for the women, the women’s open four, the Eagles “A” finished 17th with a time of 19:36.28, followed by a 20th place finish and time of 19:58.43 for the Eagles’ “B”. Alexandria Crew Boosters won the race in 17:44.48 and the highest-finishing collegiate boat was from George Mason, which finished third in 17:56.43.
On the men’s side, most of the Eagles raced in two events logging about 20,000 meters on the day. Junior Daniel
Zimmerman praised the athletes in the four boats UMW entered into the weekend’s races.
“I really can’t give enough credit to the work ethic of our men’s team,” Zimmerman said. “All of our guys put 100 percent effort into our races.”
In the men’s varsity eight, the Eagles finished eigth with a time of 15:25.48. In the men’s varsity four, the Eagles had two boats compete and finished 12th and 13th, while in the men’s varsity lightweight four the Eagles finished 3rd with a time of 17:42.62.
“This is the fastest crew Mary Washington has ever seen,” Zimmerman said. “As a unit, each of the men’s varsity eight rowers are coming together and progressively making each other better. The cohesion with all of us is impeccable, and the attitude is very positive on the water. These guys are going to do great things this year.”
Just as confident on the necessity of team chemistry and positive energy that feeds through a boat is senior Stephanie Lefferts.
“Rowing is, I believe, the ultimate team sport, in that we have to pull together to go fast,” Lefferts said. “Therefore, the good chemistry between everyone makes you want to pull harder for your teammates, because you know they’re doing the same for you.”
To continue building the chemistry of the boats and improving in all aspects of the race, Coach Wilson plans to dedicate the rest of the season to speed work, hoping to see a big improvement in the Eagles’ speed in three weeks at the Head of Occoquan race.
Although according to Lefferts and Wilson no particular races stood out this past weekend, the Eagles Rowing team performed well as a whole compared to their mostly Division I competition. The fall training spent working on building an aerobic and technical base allowed the boats to focus on speed and times while look forward into the season.
The Eagles will be returning to the water this Sunday, Oct. 24, at the Head of the Lafayette Regatta.