May 13, 2006
Sunday morning marks the start of the Yale women's crew team's defense of their 2005 Eastern Sprints varsity eight title. The Bulldogs will be facing the top crews from around the east coast in the first regatta of the championship season.
In 2005, the varsity eight overcame the odds and its eighth seeding to win the banner race of the regatta. This year though, the Bulldogs are seeded in the top five in all four categories. Yale's varsity eight, which has lost just two races in 2006, is seeded third behind Princeton and Brown, and the Yale junior varsity is seeded second, with the Brown Bears seeded first.
Even though the Bulldogs lost to both Princeton and Brown earlier in the season, Head Coach Will Porter has not been preparing his team differently from any other week.
"In our league there are no off weeks," Porter said. "So the Sprints race is just an extension of the regular season. We always try to do our best."
The Eastern Sprints format will have the Yale boats racing in heats in the morning. The top two from each heat will advance to the grand final, with the next two boats entering to the petite final, and the remaining boats going into the third final. Besides deciding the best crews on the east coast, Eastern Sprints results are also used for deciding bids for the NCAA Championship, which takes place in two weeks' time.
"The race format of Eastern Sprints is great because you really have to perform," Porter said. "There are no second chances, only heats and finals and it is all on the same day. It is intense but I believe that is why so many strong teams come out of our league and do well at NCAA's."
Racing will begin tomorrow morning at 8 am on Cooper River in Camden, N.J. For a complete race schedule, and live results, visit the EAWRC Sprints page.
Report filed by Jamie Cordes '07, Yale Sports Publicity