Heavyweights Head to IRA National Championships

The Yale varsity eight. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale varsity eight. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale Heavyweight crew team will row in its last races of the year this weekend at the 2011 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships.  The 109th IRA regatta will be held on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J., starting the morning of Thursday, June 2 and concluding on Saturday, June 4.  Four Yale crews will race against the top finishers they saw at the Eastern Sprints back on May 15 as well as some of the best teams on the West Coast.

Kicking off the weekend will be the Yale varsity eight once again next to long-time rival Harvard.  The two crews battled over four miles of river in the 146th Harvard-Yale Regatta last weekend, and this Thursday Yale will be in Lane 2, Harvard in Lane 3 in the third of three varsity heats held at 8:30 a.m.  Yale's will be an all-Ivy heat with Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth and Penn also vying for a spot in the final.  If the Bulldogs can finish in the top two spots they will proceed straight to Friday's semifinal; if not, they will compete in one of the afternoon's repechage races at 2:00 or 2:15 p.m. where they must place in the top three to advance.

The Yale second varsity eight races next at 9:00 a.m.  Here it is three to final as Yale in Lane 2 takes on UCSD, Harvard, Syracuse and Dartmouth.  The 2V repechage will be held at 2:30 p.m., where the top three will advance to Friday's semifinal.

Shortly thereafter the Yale freshman eight races in Lane 5 against Penn, Wisconsin, Washington, Princeton and Gonzaga in the event's first heat at 9:30 a.m.  Two will advance to the semifinals, the rest will race in the repechages at 2:45 and 3:00 p.m. where the top three go to the semifinals.

Rounding out the morning will be the varsity four.  Yale will race in Lane 5 of the last heat at 11:30 a.m. against Navy, Wisconsin and Hobart.  Two will advance to the semifinals, the rest go to the reps at 3:15 and 3:30 p.m. where it will be two to the semifinals.

Last year the Yale varsity eight had a great heat on the first day of racing.  Having trained for the four-mile Harvard-Yale race for two weeks, the Bulldogs showed great strength over 2,000 meters and posted a time of 5:33.984 to avoid the rep and go straight to Friday's semifinals.  In the same heat Yale was only about two seconds behind the Cal crew (5:31.944) that would go on to win the championship.

This year head coach Steve Gladstone returns to the IRA regatta as a coach for the first time since 2008 when he was at the helm of the Cal heavyweight crew team.  Gladstone's Cal crews medaled at the IRA regatta 11 times in his 12 seasons since 1997 (five gold and six bronze), an unprecedented achievement in the history of the championship.  All told his crews have won 11 IRA championships, which ties him with Charles "Pop" Courtney of Cornell (1901-15) for the most varsity eight titles in the history of collegiate rowing.

A live video stream of this year's regatta will be available online.  Four cameras – two on the water, one on top of the Camden County Boathouse and one at the finish line – will be providing live coverage of every race over all three days.  Live audio is also available here or over the phone at (508) 534-7389.  Additionally, for those who can make it to race the ECAC will be setting up two wi-fi hotspots in the Alumni Tent Village.  Spectators with laptop computers or other web-enabled devices will be able to access the live video stream (and see the first 1,500 meters of the race) with an authorized link.

Regatta Broadcast Schedule

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heavyweight Men's Heats: 8:00 AM – 11:55 AM

Repechages: 2:00 PM – 3:55 PM 


Friday, June 3, 2011

Lightweight Women's Heats:  8:30 AM – 9:25 AM

Heavyweight Men's Semifinals: 9:30 AM – 12:40 PM

Lightweight Women's Repechages: 12:45 PM – 1:10 PM


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Alumni Race: 7:00 AM

Lightweight Men's Heats: 7:20 AM – 7:40 AM

All Finals:  7:45 AM – 12:30 PM


Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity