Men’s Crew Topped at Yale in Season Opener

Men’s Crew Topped at Yale in Season Opener
DERBY, Conn. – Faced with a threat of wind, rain and a choppy current, the Brown men's crew returned to the water for the first race of the spring season, but the Bears fell to a strong Yale squad in two out of three events on the Housatonic River Saturday morning. 

The first event of the day is typically the third and fourth varsity boats, with the varsity eight boats in the fastest race for the final event. However, due to possible inclement weather conditions later in the morning, the coaches decided to open with the varsity eight during the best conditions.

After a close start in the varsity eight race, Yale kept its cadence high while the Brown rowers settled into their racing pace, allowing the Bulldogs to come up a few more feet before finally hitting their stride. Brown remained calm, but by the one-third mark Yale pulled even with the Bears, which technically is a slight lead because the start is done on a stagger due to the left-hand turn in the center of the racecourse. Since Brown was on the outside of the turn, the Bears had to fight hard to stay in contention. After the completion of the turn, Brown was faced with a three-seat deficit and had just 800 meters remaining in the course to climb back for the win.

From there, the Bears began a steady charge to the finish line. Junior stroke man Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.), on the command of the coxswain William Quirk (Rumson, N.J.), began to raise the cadence and started moving on the Yale crew, inexorably, seat by seat. With 250 meters to go, the Yale lead had shrunk to about four feet, but right then Yale pushed, and stopped the Brown charge. Brown tried for a second charge, but it was not enough, as the Bulldogs held on for the slim victory.

The JV race featured the second varsity boat from each side, plus the Brown freshmen boat since there was no Yale counterpart. After a long boat alignment exercise due to a strong wind, the race was off, and the two junior varsity boats jumped out to a fast start. Much like in the varsity race, the Yale crew stayed high and continued to charge after Brown had hit its stride. By the time both crews were into their body strokes, Yale had a six-seat lead over the Brown JV in the inside lane.

The Brown freshmen started strong, but were not quite ready for the intensity shown in their first sprint race of their Brown careers, and by the turn had fallen back to the trailing position. With the finish line in sight, Brown's JV coxswain Julia Franckh (Munich, Germany) called out to her crew for the charge. The freshmen made a bid to get back in the action at this point, but the two JV crews were neck-and-neck as the clear-cut leaders of the race. Nevertheless, Yale pushed back every attempt by the Brown rowers and crossed the finish line by about one-third of a boat length for the victory. 

In the final race of the day, the Brown 3V and 4V took to the water to race against the Yale 3V. The Brown 3V opened with an early advantage and was able to answer some challenges from the Yale 3V, crossing the line with a convincing lead at 6:26.8, ending the day on a high point for the Bears. The Brown 4V displayed great depth for the squad, until a mishandled stroke by one of the oarsmen caused the oar to get caught in the water, bringing the boat to a dead stop and effectively removing them from racing. 

Brown returns to action on Saturday, March 29 when they visit Boston University in a battle for the Michalson Cup.


Varsity Eight
Yale – 5:50.8
Brown – 5:52.2 

Second Varsity Eight
Yale JV – 6:14.6
Brown JV – 6:16.7
Brown F8 – 6:22.9 

Third/Fourth Varsity
Brown 3V – 6:26.8
Yale 3V – 6:30.5
Brown 4V – 7:02.9