Crew begins season with strong showing
After a cold yet productive offseason, the Colby men’s and women’s crew teams began the 2011 spring season with a strong showing on Saturday. The men ran three boats of eight rowers, with two varsity and one novice boat and competed against the Coast Guard Academy from New London, Conn. and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy from Buzzards Bay, Mass. The women also had two varsity boats and a novice boat competing against Coast Guard, UMass Lowell and Clark University.
The first men’s boat powered to a narrow, 4.8-second victory over Coast Guard, finishing at 5:46.2. The second varsity boat maintained an even smaller gap over Coast Guard, 5:59.6 – 6:01.7. The novice boat outpaced the field, cruising past Coast Guard and Mass Maritime by 12 and 65 seconds, respectively. The sweep of the three Coast Guard races is believed to be the first in the history of Colby’s program. Captain Jack Vihstadt ’12 credits the offseason efforts for the weekend’s results. “We utilized JanPlan and the beautiful weather during our spring break trip very effectively. This weekend was the first time this season we competed against teams from our conference, and we certainly surprised Coast Guard.”
The women’s boats also found some success on Saturday. The first varsity eight boat lost to Coast Guard but beat UMass Lowell with a time of 6:48.2. The second varsity boat finished second to Coast Guard’s 7:04.8, clocking in at 7:15.6. The novice eight won its leg, besting Coast Guard and Clark by eight and 38 seconds, respectively. Senior captain Amy Paulekas was excited with the performance, especially considering the team’s relative youth. “This was the team's first official race of the spring season....The power and speed that [were] shown this weekend are promising for the remainder of the season”
The teams believe that the best is yet to come, and the weather will play a critical role. Per Vihstadt: “Our main rowing site, the Hume Center on Lake Messalonskee, is still frozen, so we've been rowing at our temporary site on the stream surrounding Colby. We'll certainly see some increased speed when we transition to the lake, as it gives us more rowable water and opportunities for competitive side-by-side racing.”
Paulekas has high hopes for the rest of the season . “With the positive results from this first race, we can build from here. This is a very close team [that] has the potential to do great things.”
Vihstadt echoed these sentiments: “In both races next weekend we're looking forward to further translating our hard work and commitment over the past few months into unprecedented results.”