The Andover Girls Crew team kept up its fast start by winning all three of its races at the Worcester Invitational last weekend. Andover’s G1 boat triumphed by a nose, while the Big Blue G2 and G3 crews each crossed the finish line more than a boat length ahead of Exeter, the defending Interscholastic Champions, as well as Brookline, Simsbury, Tabor, and NMH. Andover G1 started its race off a little shaky. After a 20-stroke start, the Big Blue trailed Exeter by half a boat length and spent the first half of the race making up that distance. “We never gave up…we just kept fighting until the finish line. Whenever Exeter moved, we moved,” said Jen Vanecek ’04. Commented coxswain Jo Duh ’04, “I really admired the rowers’ patience to take it one stroke at a time, despite the rough start, and eat away at Exeter’s lead.” In the last 500 meters of the race, Andover fought to keep the boat even with Exeter until Brookline came up from behind with a high-speed sprint. The Big Blue drove to the finish line, unsure as to whom the victory belonged to until they had landed. As it turned out, Andover won the race with a time of 5:58, barely beating out Brookline, who finished at 5:59, and Exeter at 6:02. Simsbury, Tabor, and NMH finished fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively. The girls were pleasantly surprised by their success, but did not feel that it was the smoothest or the best rowing they have done this season. “Overall, the race wasn’t great,” said Captain Jessie Daigneault ’04, “but the awesome thing about our boat is that even if we aren’t rowing great on every stroke, we stay focused. We pulled with all we had, even if it didn’t look pretty.” In the G2 race, Andover took the lead right from the start. “It was just really a solid, good hard race,” commented Katherine Adams ’06. The girls kept up their lead throughout, crossing the line well over a length ahead of any of the other boats with a time of 6:02, leaving Exeter (6:12) and Simsbury (6:29) far behind. Next were Brookline, Tabor and NMH. “The G2 race was amazing,” said Gen Desaulniers ’04, “We wanted to be powerful, controlled, and fast, and at the finish line, we all knew we’d accomplished our goal. Being over the finish line and watching the Exeter G2 boat crossing behind us was incredibly satisfying.” The rest of the team was very impressed by G2’s victory. As Daigneault said, “They smoked everyone – they are so fast. It’s awesome – they just blew everyone out of the water.” Despite starting behind, G3 also pushed to a very convincing victory. Though Simsbury led Andover by more than half a boat length in the race’s early stages, Andover started taking it back in the middle 500 meters. Soon enough, the Big Blue took the lead going into the last 500 of the race. With Simsbury unable to respond, Andover took the race in 6:36. Simsbury and Brookline battled for second and third, coming in at 6:44 and 6:45 respectively, while Exeter came in at 6:51. “There’s just something about our boat this year,” said Sims Witherspoon ’05. “When we’re on the water, we’re pulling as hard as we can for each other. We just click.” That “click” has brought sweeps on back-to-back weekends for the Big Blue. This weekend, while JV and JV2 race Broomfield and Convent of the Sacred Heart today, the two varsity boats will enjoy a well-deserved break. Next week, the Andover girls race against St. Paul’s, the only crew they will face at Interschols that they have yet to defeat.
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