Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester, MA -- Williams women's crew brought home their seventh straight ECAC National Invitational Championship Title – eighth overall – this weekend earning them an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships where they will try to replicate this record.
The Williams boats medaled across the board, with the 1V, 2V, and 3V capturing gold, and the Novice 8 earning silver behind Wellesley.
From seniors to first-years, in every boat, Williams put their bow balls in front during the morning heats to secure spots in the Grand Finals.
In the afternoon, the Williams 3V finished on a strong note. In a beautifully executed race, the Ephs third varsity was first off the line, and found open water after a strong first 750 meters. With determination and fire, Williams continued to surge placing more and more water between their stern and the bow balls of their competitors. Bates moved on an early sprint to take back some water, but Williams remained composed and reopened the margin with a great sprint that started with a move for their senior leader Nora Kern '12. The Ephs finished with time of 7:06.1 to put away second place Bates (7:14.3).
The women's novice 8 raced in their second heater in a row against Wellesley, whom they overcame by less than a second last weekend at the New England Rowing Championships. This weekend, Wellesley was up about half a length off the start. Williams fought back, and the two crews traded moves throughout the body of the race with Wellesley managing to stay at the front of the pack. At 600 meters left, with Wellesley still ahead, Williams took up the rating to commit to sprinting early. Inch by inch they took back seats crossing the line with their fastest time of the season (7:01.6) just 0.5 of a second behind the Wellesley novice crew.
In the 2V grand final, the Ephs found another gear, jumping off the line to gain open water on the field by the 600 meter mark. In their best day of racing this season, the second varsity eight continued to move away, taking seats of open throughout the remainder of the race with rhythm and poise. They crossed through the finish buoys with a fast time of 6:44.6 on the clock, about 9 seconds ahead of second place finisher Bates.
The 1V put themselves up on the field with a collected and powerful start, after which they settled to a sustainable rhythm that allowed them to move throughout the second 500 meters. By the halfway mark, the Ephs broke contact with Bates, to gain open water on the field. Williams continued to stride, taking a commanding lead in the third 500 meters, and bringing home a victory with a decisive sprint.
"We took strength from the senior leadership in the boat, and from the heart our frosh displayed earlier in the day," said 1V coxswain Fiona Wilkes '12.
The Ephs will continue to look for speed as they await the NCAA Women's Rowing Selection Show, which will take place on Monday, May 14 at 7:00 PM on http://www.ncaa.com/ , and the NCAA Championships May 25-27 on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, NJ.