Brooks, Middlesex Crews Both Down PA Girls Boats

It was another rough week on the water for Andover Girls Varsity Crew as the team lost both of its races to Brooks and Middlesex, respectively, this past Saturday. Leaving behind the second and third boats, the girls first boat split up to race in fours. Unfortunately, this decision, coupled with some awful racing conditions, contributed to the loss. The main opponent to the Big Blue was Saturday’s weather. Speaking of the course on Lake Cochicewick at Brooks, G3 rower Ashley Lewis ’04 remarks, “It looked like an ocean.” The course conditions inspired the Brooks coach to change the starting line of the race 250 meters farther down the river than its usual spot, resulting in a shortened 1250 meter race. Still, despite this attempt to remedy the tough conditions, the first 750 meters remained choppy. The waters calmed down for the last 500 meters, with some rain and strong headwind. Since Brooks races only in fours, the girls on the G1 boat traded in their usual eights for fours on Thursday. With just two days to practice in the fours, often described as more difficult to row, the girls performed well. The smaller boats are also harder to control in the choppy weather. The girls first four boat condensed some of Big Blue’s most talented rowers. Captain Meryl Mims ’03 rowed at stroke, followed by Jessie Daigneault ’04, Alex Hammer ’03, and Hoppy Maffione ’04. However, Brooks pulled ahead immediately after the start of the race, finishing with a first-place time of 5:16. The Andover boat placed third with a time of 5:21. The second four, with rowers Jackie Dwulet ’04, Tami Fay ’03, Jenn Vanacek ’04, and Meg Sullivan ’04, also lost to a Brooks boat, which finished with a time of 5:30. Middlesex, placing second with a time of 5:37, finished with open water on the Blue boat, which crossed the finish line in 5:45. However, despite the losses, the girls acknowledge that there is a long season ahead and seek to improve their record. Tomorrow, St. Paul’s School, one of PA’s traditional rivals in crew, travels to the Merrimack for the girls’ team’s first race on its home course. “Saturday was not so great,” remarked Sullivan, “But we are going to rock St. Paul’s.” Head Coach Kathryn Green added, “We joined that race on Saturday in the hopes of keeping up a race mentality this past week. Now we have focused on St. Paul’s and are ready to have a powerful and highly competitive race on our home course. This is the middle of the season, so everyone is close to being able to pull with their full strength. Now that we’ve gotten a few races behind us, we have to use those experiences to help us achieve our greatest power [tomorrow].” Lineups in the varsity boats have changed as a result of seat racing, a drill that isolates an individual rower’s power. The team hopes that this change will help both boats place highly against the opponent. The JV2 fifth boat also plans to participate in its first race.