NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale lightweight rowing team's season got off to a strong start this afternoon on Lake Carnegie, where the Bulldogs took four out of five events, including the varsity eight, which captured the Johnson Cup for the third time in four years. Captain Andrew Hakanson was happy with the performance but added that the team must continue working in the coming weeks.
"It was a tremendous team performance to win four of five races against such a fierce competitor as Navy," said Hakanson. "We should take confidence in our wins but understand that it is only the beginning of the season. It is crucial that we build from our success and focus on finding more speed in practice."
Yale finished second in the first race of the day, an exhibition race between second freshman and fourth varsity oarsmen. Navy's fourth varsity eight won by a significant margin, crossing the line in 6:35.3. Yale's combination boat of freshman and varsity rowers finished second with a time of 6:48.3, ahead of the Navy second freshman eight, which crossed the line in 6:55.8
In the third varsity eight, Yale established an early lead against the Midshipmen, slowly extending their margin as the race went on, earning Yale's largest victory of the day. Yale finished with a time of 6:12.1, 13.3 seconds ahead of Navy.
Yale's freshman crew had a similar race, establishing a solid rhythm early in the race and pulling away from Navy's plebe crew. Yale crossed the line in 6:08.0, and Navy finished in 6:16.3
The Yale second varsity, like the 3V and 1F before it, took a sizable lead with its starting strokes, taking a boat length from Navy in the first 500 meters. The Midshipmen closed the margin slightly in the second half of the race, but Yale's early push was too much to overcome, as the Bulldogs won by 3.1 seconds with a time of 6:08.7.
In the final event of the day, the varsity eight, Yale recaptured the Johnson Cup with a 3.3-second victory. Like the other Yale crews before it, the varsity eight focused on using the race's first quarter to set the tone within their boat.
"Going into race we didn't know what to expect," said Hakanson, the six-seat. "Our race plan was pretty simple in nature. We really executed in the first 500 meters and essentially kept our lead until the finish line. We felt in control of the race and remained internal within our own shell."
Yale will race at home next Saturday against MIT and Georgetown for the Joy Cup.
Report Filed by Trey Chandler '11, Yale Sports Publicity