March 21, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This Saturday morning, the Yale women's crew team will open its 2007 spring season at the Connell Cup on Philadelphia's Schulykill River against Columbia and hosts Penn. The racing will begin Saturday at 9:30 am.
Head Coach Will Porter's crew includes 19 of the 25 athletes that competed in the 2006 NCAA Championships, as well as the addition of 15 talented freshmen. After a strong fall season which included a victory in the Collegiate Eights event at the Head of the Charles, the Bulldogs will face Ivy competition this weekend for their first race of the spring.
While Columbia's crew has just returned from a training trip in sunny Florida, the Bulldogs have spent their spring break right here in New Haven, at times fighting adverse weather condiitons.
"Spring break has been tough," Porter said. "We have been battling the cold weather, ice and snow trying to find boat speed."
With thunderstorms forecast for Philadelphia on Saturday, the bad weather might not be over yet. But if recent history is anything to go by the Bulldogs might be quietly confident: they have lifted the Connell Cup three seasons in a row, and won all their races at the regatta in both 2004 and 2006.
Coach Porter's crew - ranked fourth in the preseason USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA Division I Varsity Eight Coaches Poll - may not be the finished product, but are willing to work hard to achieve success.
"I am not sure we are ready to bring our "A" race, but this team is very game," Porter said."They will compete no matter what, it may not be pretty, but they will show up. This team has a willingness to compete that I have never seen before."
Report filed by Jamie Cordes '07, Yale Sports Publicity