In a heated Saturday rematch against Exeter, nerves took the better of Andover’s G1 and G2, as both boats fell behind Exeter from the start and found themselves battling Tabor for second place. Fueled by the loss, G1 bounced back to dominate St. Paul’s on Wednesday, capturing its first official victory and proving the squad’s powerful potential. “We were so geared up to beat Exeter, especially because of our close race earlier in the season, that we became frantic, and as a result, our power was lost,” said Captain Katie Fanikos ’11. “The St. Paul’s race proved our incredible strength as a boat.” Rattled by Exeter’s early spurt in the G1 heat, Andover fought hard to hold ground, but eventually found itself fourteen seconds behind Exeter and neck and neck with Tabor in the final sprint. With an impressive effort amid rough conditions, Andover crossed the line in 6:32.23, behind Exeter’s 6:18.33 and .87 seconds ahead of Tabor. Fanikos said, “I don’t think we were expecting Exeter to jump on us that early in the race, and we were definitely shook up by it, losing our composure and lacking the unity to walk back on them.” In the G2 heat, the race came down to Andover and Tabor fighting for an edge halfway down the course, with Exeter leading the pack by open water. “Most of the girls on G2 agreed that it may not have been our best race technically, but we powerful and left it all out on the water,” said Alexi Bell ’13. Andover rowed a time of 6:48.14 to capture second, a few lengths behind Exeter at 6:30.48. The G3 and G4 races were a high point of the day, as G3 dueled Exeter to a tie, and G4 swept Exeter by a boat-length. With Exeter’s performance serving as a wake up call, the varsity boats spent the practices before St. Paul’s seat racing for the strongest lineup combinations. “We were looking to have a lineup that could start strongest and swing together with power until the very end of the sprint,” said Morgan Askew ’11. G1 headed into the St. Paul’s race armed with a new bucket rig setup on its boat, and a hunger for victory. After G3 and G2 lost by open water, G1 stepped it up, executing a perfect start. Andover’s unwavering perseverance paid off, as G1 fended off St. Paul’s by open water at the finish line. Fanikos said, “There is no doubt in my mind that we can compete. It’s a matter of composure, determination, and trust in the boat that will help propel us to become faster, which is crucial, especially with NEIRAs so close.” With only a week before NEIRA’s, the squad is eager to put in the work. “Now we know what it feels like to row well together, and we won’t settle for anything less,” said Bell. Andover Girls Crew will travel to NMH on Saturday, May 21st for the regular season finale.