WEST WINDSOR, N.J.- All three Yale heavyweight boats racing in the three-day IRA National Championships have advanced to the top level of semi-finals, leaving them all in contention for medals. The first, second and third varsity will all race in either the "A" or "B" semi-final for their event tomorrow, from which the top three boats will advance to the grand final and the bottom three to the petit.
The varsity, which raced in the first heat of the day, was the only Bulldog boat to move through to the semi-finals without rowing in a repechage. The boat needed to finish first or second to do so, and came across the line right behind the University of Washington with a time of 5:38.9. The varsity had been trailing earlier on in the race but managed to pick up speed in the final leg to earn easy passage to the semi. The varsity will race its semi-final at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, against Wisconsin, Princeton, Harvard, Boston University and Cornell. Every squad in this race except for Wisconsin also raced in the grand final at Eastern Sprints, two weeks ago.
"It was a confidence-building performance to come through in the last quarter [of the race]. The crew is feeling excited about tomorrow to show what we can do," said sophomore Tom Pagel, who rowed three-seat in the varsity this morning.
The second varsity did not progress straight through to a semi-final. After finishing third in its heat, the boat rowed in a repechage later on in the after-noon. In order to progress into the top two semi-finals, the boat needed to finish first in its repechage. The Bulldogs were able to win the race with a time of 5:46.3, defeating runner-up Harvard by over two seconds. The second varsity will race for a spot in the grand final at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning against Wisconsin, Brown, Princeton, Cal and Cornell.
The third varsity also headed to the repechage after a fourth-place finish in its heat. In order for to progress desirably, the third varsity needed to finish in at least third. The boat was able to cross the line second, with a time of 5:53.2, in front of Syracuse, Holy Cross, Harvard and Drexel. The third varsity will race at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow morning against Boston University, the University of Washington, Northeaster, Cornell and Penn.
"Our first race was a big step up from Eastern Sprints and our row in the repechage was another step on top of that," said sophomore Elliot O'Reilly. If we keep taking giant steps like these then we'll be on the moon by Christmas. Its also always nice to beat some long-term rivals."
The heavyweights will rest, recover and prepare for their semi-final races tonight in New Jersey.
Race Schedule for Saturday Morning
10:15- Third Varsity
10:30- Second Varsity
11:30- Varsity Eight
Results from the day can be found here.
Video from the second half of today can be found here.
Information on the live-feed for tomorrow can be found here.