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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Crew starts spring season strong at Murphy Cup

Many novice racers competed for the first time this weekend. (Photo courtesy of @lafcrew on Instagram)

The crew team had an impressive opening to its spring 2023 season at the Murphy Cup Regatta this past weekend in Philadelphia.

In the women’s novice, boat A secured fourth and boat B took sixth. In the men’s novice, boat A took second with boat B right behind for a third-place finish. 

This weekend marked the first race for many of the novice racers.

“For them just getting the experience to race was amazing,” senior Abby Hammel said. “I loved watching them and cheering.”

The women’s second varsity four came in with a strong fourth-place finish. The women’s and men’s collegiate varsity four did not disappoint either, with the women taking second and the men securing first.

Sophomore Ellie Walsh said that in practice before the race, the team was working on its starting sequences.

“It’s important to have a strong start because they set the pace and tone for the remainder of the race,” she said. 

The team’s strategy worked, as the women had a time of 7:21.690, just 10 seconds behind the University of Pennsylvania’s first-place A boat.

The men had a time of 6:48.790, giving them just over a three-second lead on Temple’s A boat.

“During the race, there is so much that goes through my mind, but at the same time you almost feel zoned in and let muscle memory take over,” sophomore Aaron Sigmond-Warner said.

Some other standout moments for the weekend included strong performances from all the boats’ coxswains. They had a particularly hard job given the difficulty of the weekend’s course, which was on the Schuylkill River. 

“They all did a great job steering down a race course that had turns in it,” Sigmond-Warner said.

“Annabelle [Witkowski] ’26 is very impressive,” sophomore Ellie Walsh said of her boat’s coxswain. “Her positive attitude is inspiring.”

Hammel gave a shout-out to senior Jacob Mina for stepping in as coxswain for one of the novice boats.

“He has literally never done this before and somehow managed to get his boat down the course in a very high-stress environment,” she said. 

To prepare for the regatta, which marked a transition from the longer race season to the sprint race season, the team spent lots of time on the water and working on strength training. According to Walsh, the team has “been doing short pieces to focus on power and strength.”

The team last competed in November of 2022 at the Philadelphia Frostbite Regatta, where it clinched gold in every category that it entered. However, the long break since its last regatta has not meant a break for the team’s conditioning. In its time off from competition, the team took its spring training trip to Florida where it put time in on the water, as well as some quality time for team bonding. This has allowed the team to stay positive going into tough races.

“We are good at staying confident even when we race against high-profile teams,” Hammel said.

This success of the seven boasts that competed over the weekend shows promise for a strong spring season. Coming out of the Murphy Cup race, the team will focus on practicing in its racing lineups as well as rowing efficiently. 

Sigmond-Warner said that before the next race, “[the team] will try to get on the water as much as [it] can.”

Lafayette will make its next appearance at the Knecht Cup on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, New Jersey this upcoming weekend for a two-day competition.

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Fiona Cannon
Fiona Cannon, Staff Sports Writer

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  • C

    Carl WitkowskiApr 14, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Go Pards!!!!