After a long preseason of preparation, Lafayette Crew finally hit the water for their first regatta of the spring season. The team competed at the 36th annual Murphy Cup hosted by Temple University on March 31 on the Schuylkill River, where they went up against 31 other teams.
“It was nice to come out and have a strong start for the year, it set the tone for the rest of the season,” senior rower and former captain Ryan Coulson said. “We had a lot of people in multiple events throughout the day, but everybody did a good job dealing with the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with racing.”
The team medaled in four events, including women’s novice four (first place), women’s varsity two (second place), women’s varsity four (second place) and men’s varsity four (third place).
“Every year I’ve been here, we’ve relied a lot on freshman to step up and fill positions,” Coulson said. “Right now, we don’t have any upperclassman coxswains. We have five freshman coxswains and three of them are brand new as of spring season.”
The women’s novice four, a race restricted to rowers and coxswain in their first season of collegiate crew, had a strong first showing, earning gold and beating teams such as Temple and Holy Cross.
“It was the first race ever for some of them,” junior president-elect Nicole Harry said. “We did well with effort and being where we needed to be and helping out. We had people running from different boats and hot seating. People were just working really hard off the boat and on the race course.”
Multiple Lafayette boats also finished in the top five, with women’s novice four B and men’s novice four finishing fourth, while men’s varsity two earned fifth.
The crew team began their season when they returned to campus in August, training on the water until early November. They competed in a few regattas in the fall before moving indoor for the winter.
“We’ve been training six days a week over the winter, people have been doing morning practices, basically just a lot of aerobic work and lifting,” Harry said. “We’re at the right fitness level and we’re going to continue to build and maintain what we did in the winter.”
Over spring break, the team traveled to Florida, where they rowed twice a day to prepare for the spring season.
“Competition-wise, the goal is always to medal at Dad Vail, which is our biggest regatta. The [women’s] varsity four had a really successful season last year, so we would like to keep that positive trajectory even though our boat isn’t the same,” Harry said.
The team’s next regatta is their annual dual against Lehigh, River Cup. The regatta takes place on April 7 at Lake Nockamixon.
“It’s probably our second biggest regatta of the year,” Coulson said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve only won the overall cup once, which is men, women and novice combined. It would be great to get that again this year.”