It was a long day of racing on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey, as athletes were given the chance to finally prove their speed at the highest level of collegiate rowing.
And prove they did, as the day’s racing set competitors up for two more days of high-intensity action all culminating in the final battle for a chance at a national title.
In the four heats of the men’s Varsity Challenge Cup No. 1 California-Berkley, No. 2 Yale, No. 3 Brown, and No. 5 Washington each won their respective heats. For the curious reader, No. 4-ranked Dartmouth came in behind Washington in the fourth heat 3.678 seconds behind the Huskies. All of the winners, plus Dartmouth, Syracuse, Harvard, and Princeton advanced directly to the A/B semifinals.
Those eight crews plus Northeastern, Cornell, Wisconsin, and the Naval Academy—the four crews that won their afternoon repechages—will duke it out on June 4 for a spot in the Varsity Challenge Cup grand final.
“I think we saw good racing from the team. In the varsity eight heat we had a tough race with Califonia and Syracuse which put us in third and in the rep,” Northeastern’s head coach Alex Perkins said. “The guys did a great job responding to that taking a commanding lead in the rep and finishing with a quick time.”
In the men’s lightweight eight event, No. 1 Yale and No. 3 Georgetown each won their respective heat. They will be joined by Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, and the Naval Academy in the men’s lightweight eight grand final.
In its IRA debut, the Division III National Championship 8+ event heat took place and was a race for lanes. In that event, Williams, Tufts, and Trinity took the top three spots.
Racing to take place on June 4 includes heats, semis, 3rd-level finals, petite finals in men’s lightweight and varsity four events, and grand finals in the men’s varsity four and DIII men’s varsity eight.