INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – After a strong first day of racing, the Brown women's crew team returned to Eagle Creek Park on Saturday morning for the second day of competition in the 2013 NCAA Division I Rowing Championships. All three of the Bears' boats had advanced to the A/B semifinals based on their performances during Friday's heats and repechages, allowing them to compete today for berths in Sunday morning's Grand Finals. At the end of an intense and impressive morning of racing against the nation's top teams, two of Brown's three crews had earned a chance to vie for a national title.
The Varsity Eight was the first boat to take the course, competing with UCLA, Virginia, USC, Cal and Stanford in the second heat of the A/B semifinals. With the top three boats in each of the two heats advancing to the Grand Final and the remaining boats heading to the Petite Final, the Bears jumped out to a fast start, challenging the crews in the center lanes. The crew had fallen back by the 500 meter mark however, and battled Stanford for the fifth place spot as the teams raced down the course. In sixth place at 1500 meters, Brown used a final push to surge past Stanford and challenge UCLA, finishing fifth in 7:17.023, less than a second out of fourth place.
Brown will compete in the Petite Final of the Varsity Eight tomorrow morning with UCLA, Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Michigan. Virginia, USC, Cal, Princeton, Ohio State and Washington will all compete for the national title in the Grand Final.
The Bears' Second Varsity Eight won its heat on Friday, advancing directly to the A/B semifinals, where the crew competed against UCLA, Virginia, Cal, Princeton and Notre Dame. Proving their strength from the beginning, Brown owned the lead at the 500 meter mark but was challenged by Virginia in the second quarter of the race. The boat had pulled back into the lead by 1500 meters however, and the Bears fended off both Cal and Princeton down the stretch to win an extremely close heat with a time of 6:54.564, earning a spot in the Grand Final.
The crew will race for the Second Varsity Eight national title tomorrow morning, batting it out against Yale, Ohio State, USC, Cal and Princeton for the top spot. Harvard, Washington, Stanford, UCLA, Virginia and Notre Dame will all compete in the Petite Final.
In the final event of the morning, the Varsity Four, Brown competed in the first A/B semifinal heat after advancing through their performances in the repechages on Friday. Racing from the sixth lane, the squad got out to a fast start against Stanford, Ohio State, Cal, Washington and Yale, and continued to race with the leaders as the teams moved down the course. Cal challenged the Bears in the second 500, but Brown never gave up the third place spot, crossing the line at 7:41.888 and advancing to tomorrow's Grand Final.
The Bears will be joined by Ohio State, Washington, Virginia, USC and Washington State in the Grand Final, as all six schools strive for valuable team points and the national title in the Varsity Four. Stanford, Cal, Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame and Michigan will compete in the Petite Four.
As the teams head in to the final day of competition, the NCAA title still remains largely up for grabs, as only Ohio State and USC have boats in all three Grand Finals. Brown is one of five schools with two boats in the top final, while Yale and Washington State each have one. The Bears' battle for their eighth national championship will begin on Sunday morning at 8:30am.