No. 7 Bulldogs Open Season Against Columbia & Penn

Varsity eight (Tim Bennett photo)
Varsity eight (Tim Bennett photo)

Teams Will Be Racing For Connell Cup

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's crew has qualified for the NCAA Championship in each of the last 10 years. Extending that streak would seem like a natural goal for the 2012 Bulldogs. Long-time head coach Will Porter, though, will have none of that talk. His expectations for the team never change.

"Making it to the NCAAs would be great this year as it is every year, but it is not the ultimate goal," Porter said. "Going as fast as we can in every one of our crews is our goal, maximizing our abilities."

Yale begins that quest on Saturday when it faces Columbia and Penn for the Connell Cup in New York. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. and the varsity eights will row at 1:30 p.m.

This season marks the beginning of a new era in Ivy League women's rowing. Unlike years past when the fastest Ivy boat at Eastern Sprints decided the league champion, there will be a league championship regatta on May 13.

"The Ivy League championship will be interesting," Porter said. "I am looking forward to seeing how it works out."

The Bulldogs figure to again contend for the Ivy title. Seven rowers who ended last season in the varsity eight are back. Porter also has a majority of the members of the lower boats returning and welcomed a talented freshman class.

"This year's team is very game for anything we throw at them," he said. "We have a good mix of youth and experience."

The Bulldogs will face a challenging schedule that includes eight crews that were ranked in the CRCA/US Rowing preseason national poll. One oddity to the schedule is a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to race Ohio State and Michigan on Mar. 31.

"Our schedule is very competitive this year which will allow us to test ourselves against the best teams in the country," Porter said, "but if we are going fast it doesn't matter who we are racing."

Yale-Columbia-Penn Race Schedule

V4B - 12:30
V4A - 12:50
2V - 1:10
1V - 1:30
3V - 1:50

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity