The Boston University women’s crew team finished the fall portion of its schedule Saturday morning at the Foot of the Charles Regatta, a small, three-race event held at DeWolfe Boathouse.
BU posted one third-place finish in the fours competition and a second-place finish in the varsity eights, though the team’s novice eights struggled. Three other BU boats in the fours competition finished 16th, 29th and 30th, respectively, in a field of 58.
‘The four A, I thought, performed very close to their potential,’ BU coach Stacey Rippetoe said. ‘It was a really competitive field. There were only’ a few seconds between, I think, second through eight, so for a two-and-a-half mile race that’s pretty good.’
Rippetoe said that in this particular regatta the emphasis was on the fours competition instead of the eights, which generally serve as the main focus of an event. The single BU varsity eight in Saturday’s event was actually the team’s third-ranked eight, as the top two had been split into fours and comprised the boats that raced earlier in the day.
‘I thought the third eight definitely did the best that they have done so far,’ Rippetoe said. ‘Now they have to figure out how to do that on a more consistent basis.’
The Terriers sent three novice eights boats into a field of 33, finishing 17th, 19th and 31st, respectively. Novice competitions include only first-year collegiate rowers, though that means different things for different schools.
For some teams, Rippetoe said, novices are experienced high school recruits who have yet to make the varsity squads. Most of BU’s high school recruits are already on varsity in their first year.
‘The majority of our novices just started their careers six or seven weeks ago,’ Rippetoe said. ‘I think [the race] was eye-opening for them. I know they were pleased with how their boats felt, and I think they were displeased with the results.’
The fall season essentially serves as a warm-up round for the spring, when NCAA tournaments start and schools compete directly against one another. Teams remain focused on improving technique and determining the combination of rowers they will use when the season resumes in late March.
Now that the winter break has begun, Rippetoe said, the team is bound by NCAA rules to practice no more than eight hours per week until the end of January. The team will spend most of its time indoors, using rowing machines and training tanks to work on the more technical aspects of rowing.
‘I think they’re looking a lot more fit, and what we need to do now is just learn to be more effective through the water,’ she said. ‘With the actual rowing stroke itself, we have to learn how to be more effective.’
Near the halfway point of her first season at BU, Rippetoe said she has been pleased with the way the team responded to the increase in training she brought from her time with Michigan State University. She also noted the depth of talent and level of competition within the team itself.
‘Especially between the top two eights, there’s a lot of fluidity between those two boats,’ she said. ‘The four A did a great job establishing dominance over the rest of the fours, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t step up and do the same.’
The season resumes Saturday, March 28 with a home race against Syracuse University.