Men’s and women’s rowing each sweep varsity eights on Erie Canal

By Grace Myers ’19

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In their first home regatta of the spring season Hamilton College’s Men’s and Women’s Rowing dominated both Franklin & Marshall College and Skidmore College in nearly every race for a strong showing. The boats faced a mild current and a headwind of 8-11 miles per hour, which made the waters a bit choppy. They competed in Rome’s stretch of the Erie Canal, where Hamilton raced 5 boats against the other two colleges and won all but one of the races for an extraordinary near shutout. 

The morning began at 10:30  am with the men’s varsity eight boat, which took the best time of the day, completing their 2000m with a time of 7:08.07. They beat F&M and Skidmore easily, though Skidmore almost overtook the Diplomats for the second place finish. The second and third place teams had a margin of only 9 seconds.

Hamilton’s women’s varsity boat was next up, and the Continentals again came out in first place with open water to spare. They finished with a time of 8:06.7. Franklin & Marshall again took second, and Skidmore third. Coxswain Rachel Sutor ’20 remarked that “all of our boats did a spectacular job this weekend. It is really exciting to enter the season with such a strong showing.”

Women’s rowing completed their regatta with the next race, again beating the other two boats for a first-place finish with a time of 8:26.6. Franklin & Marshall and Skidmore settled into their positions as second and third respectively. The win was especially remarkable given the boat’s youth--—five of the boat’s eight rowers are first-year students. The coxswain, Laura Hornby ’20, was racing in just her second career regatta and has been in a boat for just four weeks. The remarkable team effort by both women’s boats paid off, and they took home two first place finishes.

The men’s 4+ was next, and they took second place in a close race, earning a time of 8:22.8. Skidmore was the surprise of the race, scooping up first with just 14 seconds to spare. Franklin & Marshall took third, and the afternoon continued. Sutor reaffirmed the team’s overall enthusiasm, especially given the large number of first-year rowers (one of whom is a coxswain in the men’s 4). “We have such a young team, and we are so thrilled with how much more we can grow,” she said. “This weekend was really a great way to kick off the home races.”

The second men’s 8 completed the morning, and Hamilton took home a first place finish yet again with a time of 7:35.3, beating second-place Franklin & Marshall by a remarkable 33.7 seconds. The success was even more profound due to the boat’s inexperience, as they had only practiced one time together in Sunday’s configuration. Trent Pfieffer ’19, who competed on both the first and second men’s 8 boats, attributed their success to a strong work ethic. “We’re very excited to be back out on the water, and we all really want to do well,” he said. “Having such a good regatta is encouraging, and our hard work has paid off. It’s clear that the program is definitely gaining attention.”

Though the weekend was a resounding success for Hamilton men’s and women’s Rowing alike, the next few weekends will have the Continentals facing tougher competition. Both the men and women will race Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Lake Quinsigamond on April 8.

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