Girls Crew Places Second in Home Opener

Andover Girls Crew competed in its second race against Duxbury and Deerfield this Saturday. The Girls’ Varsity One boat (G1) finished second, falling 17 seconds behind Deerfield.

According to Meg Stineman ’25, there was a significant improvement between the team’s first and most recent race. After targeting areas that needed work, Andover was able to draw a large margin between its boat and Duxbury’s, while keeping a close margin against Deerfield. 

“In comparison to Kent, I think it was an exponential improvement. The Kent race felt really flustered and we were just really nervous because it was our first race and it didn’t work out in the way we were hoping. And so our goal was really just to improve in the following week. And I think that’s exactly what we did. Deerfield is an insane program, ridiculously good and we barged as much as we could. And in terms of Duxbury, we were really excited to have pulled… [It was] helpful in our motivation during the race because margins matter a lot in the long run,” said Stineman.

Deerfield’s program was reconstructed this year after transitioning to eight-person boats. Andover did not make assumptions before the race due to the unfamiliarity with Deerfield’s program, noted Louisa Carter ’25. In spite of placing second, the team remains focused on the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA).

“I think we rode much stronger than we had [previously]. I think Deerfield is [a] super strong school. They just transitioned from quads to eight this year. So no one within the eight schools has really raced them before… They’re really incredible this year. But I think that it was a really good race for us as well. Even though we lost, we were happy with the margin because that’s what it comes down to eventually when you’re getting seating for the NEIRA,” said Carter.

Brooke Birdsall ’23 attributed Andover’s success against Duxbury to its previous races, while Deerfield’s strong program brought in a new challenge for the team. Birdsall looks forward to racing Deerfield in the near future.

“Going into it, we knew a little bit about Duxbury’s program because we raced them last year… Deerfield was more of a wild card for us… I was really excited to get to go up against new opponents. And they were definitely a really strong team… It’s definitely some tough competition. We will get to meet up with [Deerfield] one more time at the end of the season and I’m definitely looking forward to [having] another chance at them,” said Birdsall.

Looking forward, the team hopes to work on generating power in its drive, while also maintaining composure during races, particularly in the upcoming race where Andover will face the challenge of rowing against the current, noted Stineman.

“For future races, I think something we’re really working on is staying calm and not getting too stressed about the race… This is just another race for you to leave your everything. You have to [reach] almost your breaking point, but we [also] row better when we’re calm. More specifically, we’re working right now on direct catches and a lot of power through our drive and in the back end especially because in our upcoming race, we’re going upstream against the current.” 

Rowing in concert to each other will optimize the team’s performance, commented Birdsall. Part of that comes with swinging simultaneously with one another and extending that connection to each member. 

Birdsall said, “One of our things is that we really need to work on [is] swinging in unison when we’re rowing together. So that just means following each other’s bodies a bit more closely, so that we move like a really well oiled machine of eight people moving back and forth together, which would be the most optimal power distribution in the boat.”

In practice, the team has also raced the Boys’ Varsity One boat (B1) for the first time to prepare for races. The scrimmage helped rowers focus on enhancing their technique and drive with power, noted Carter. 

“What we’re practicing now is really putting a lot of power into our strokes. We’ve been doing a lot [of work] with our technique. Today for the first time, we raced the boys and we hope we continue to do it. It’s been helping us just really practice stepping on the gas and trying to get seats back when we lose them… Really practicing that mentality and just driving as hard as you can, not just focusing on having perfect technique, which is equally important,” said Carter.

Andover will race against Hanover and Bedford this Saturday.