Lightweights Ready to Open Title Defense Saturday

Yale's Varsity Eight (Photo Courtesy Carol Hsin)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Fresh off a national championship, the Yale lightweight crew team is looking to produce a fast start Saturday. Last spring, the varsity boat capped off a successful season by beating Harvard by 0.02 seconds to capture the national championship. In doing so, the Bulldogs earned themselves a trip to England to race in the Royal Regatta at Henley.  In addition, both the freshman boat and the third varsity capped off undefeated seasons with victories at the Sprints Championship regatta. With Andy Card returning for his 23rd season at the helm of the crew as well as Colin Farrell back for his third season as assistant coach, Yale looks to continue this success this fall. Captain David Walker is excited to get underway with the fall racing season and build on last season's success. Led by Walker, one of four returning national champions along with junior Thomas Swartz, junior Brendan Harrington and senior coxswain Emma McBurney, the Elis have been working hard everyday preparing for the season.

Joining Walker and McBurney are six other seniors, Chad Bailey, David Kahan, Skylar Prill, Daniel Ribas, Maxwell Micali and coxswain Paige Fedon. Looking to fill the gaps are the other varsity oarsmen. They welcome the gold medal winning class of 2014 to their ranks. With a good summer of work behind them, the team looks to be in a strong position. The depth of the team should be one of the Bulldogs' strong points this season.

In addition to the returning varsity oarsmen, the crew also welcomes the class of 2015 oarsmen to the program. Nine oarsmen and a coxswain strong, the class, coached by Farrell, brings with it a significant amount of accolades from the high school level, including victories at the Stotesbury Cup, SRAA National Championship, Royal Canadian Henley and the Midwest Regional Championships. In addition, they boast the world record holder in the 19 and under lightweight 24-hour row, William Solberg. The class shows a great deal of potential, and has Farrell gunning for a second straight freshman boat gold medal.
  
The team kicks off its season Oct. 8 with the 17th Head of the Housatonic on the Bulldogs' home river in Derby, Conn. This regatta will give the Bulldogs a chance to earn some racing experience before the Head of the Charles, as most varsity athletes will be competing in more than one race. After a weekend off, the Bulldogs return to race the Head of the Charles, the biggest two-day regatta, on Oct. 23. It will feature many collegiate and elite teams. Last year, two Yale fours took first and second in the lightweight four event. The Bulldogs are looking to replicate that finish again this year as well as improve on their ninth-place finish in the lightweight eight event. Yale finishes its fall season on Oct. 30 with the Princeton Chase, held on Lake Carnegie in Princeton.
 
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity