It was well worth the wait. PA’s boys’ Varsity crew executed an emphatic sweep over the Salisbury School this past weekend to notch their first victories of the season and avenge a pair of mediocre results in the first races of the season. Rowing in a stiff gusting tailwind and sloppy water, the First boat rowed what Coach Peter Washburn called a “good, solid, conservative” race. The Blue burst off the line at 40 strokes per minute but quickly settled to 33 strokes per minute, a lower cadence than their usual race rate of 34_ strokes per minute and also lower than the 36 to which Salisbury settled. The more conservative rate afforded the boat greater stability in the whitecaps, and the boys took a lead of roughly two seats at the end of the first 500 meters. Salisbury took a number of “Power 10’s,” sets of ten strokes ordered by the coxswain in which the rowers attempt to put extra muscle into the stroke to pass an opponent, but managed only temporary comebacks against the steady Andover crew. At the 600 meter mark, coxswain Sarah Sherman ’04 called a Power 10 to bring the boat into its closing sprint; racing at 36_ strokes per minute, the PA boat opened up a lead of six seats that it did not relinquish and finished two seconds ahead of Salisbury. Salisbury’s top eight showed speed that it has not historically been able to muster; Andover won the First boat race last year by nearly 20 seconds. However, this year’s Knights are bolstered by two rowers who left powerhouse Groton for unrelated reasons and 6’6” man-child Gordon Getsinger ’04, a gangly piece of work who in February was forced to row in the Open Men’s division at the CRASH-B Sprints, an indoor rowing competition, due to age restrictions making him ineligible for youth competition. “It was a little closer than we were expecting, but a win is a win. I think we rowed a smart race, especially with the conditions,” said Washburn after the race. “They’re more experienced and they have had more water time, so [the relatively slim margin of victory] is nothing to worry about. The Second boat made up for the First boat’s tight finish by handing their scarlet counterparts a real drubbing, crossing the line with an open-water lead despite a near-catastrophe that came with 200 meters left to row. Rowing at 36 strokes per minute with the help of the brisk tailwind, the Blue pushed to a two-seat lead in the first 500 meters and then redoubled their efforts in the middle 500 meters, opening up a lead of almost two boat-lengths that they maintained until the last 25 strokes, when a patch of wind-blown water disrupted the boat’s stability and triggered a series of missed strokes that halted forward progress. The boat quickly regrouped and despite the stoppage crossed the line six seconds ahead of the Salisbury crew. B2 stroke Justin Yi said “The second boat had a pretty solid race, except for when the rough water interfered in the last 300 meters. We tried to focus on rowing well together instead of simply not making mistakes, which had been the mindset the week earlier at the Exeter Invitational.” Both boys’ boats met with mediocre results two weekends ago at the Invitational. Officially, the First boat finished fourth out of six despite the fact that many spectators and coxswain Sherman thought the Blue finished ahead of third-place Exeter. “We definitely had at least two seats; I was up by their 6-man,” Sherman commented after the race.” B2 finished third behind St. John’s School and Exeter. The Boys in Blue Unisuits head up to Concord, NH this weekend to tackle the smack-talking jive turkeys of St. Paul’s School. Having reconfigured the B2 lineup, tweaked both boats’ starting strokes, and instituted the arduous “Test Your Testes Tuesday” workouts that mark the middle of the racing season, Coaches Peter and Taylor Washburn ’03 smell victory. Commented the elder Washburn, “We’re going to go up there and we’re going to row better and smarter than St. Paul’s.”
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