Freshmen Lightweights Claim Victory on Class Day

An excerpt from the Penn Lightweight Rowing Newsletter
Written by Head Coach Nick Baker
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Last Friday afternoon in Camden, N.J., we held our annual class day race. After beating up on a throw-together Second Varsity lineup earlier in the week, the Freshmen looked like the class to beat. We allowed the actual shells to be selected via seniority of the class, so by the time it got to the Freshmen, not only had they lost their regular training shell, they had lost all the port stroke shells. Coach John Hayburn scrambled to move his line-up around and get the guys ready for their first 2,000-meter race. Some of the athletes in that boat had learned the starting sequence just that morning.

The seniors jumped out to an early lead. Some might say they jumped the start, but as class day is designed to give them every advantage, we are sticking with them just having a quick start. The Juniors also got out quickly, gaining a three-seat advantage over the Sophomores and Freshmen in the first 250 meters.

Coming into the first 500 meters, the Juniors had the lead over a fading Senior class. The Freshmen were still a couple of seats down while the Sophomores started to fall off the pace. The Freshmen, under stroking the Juniors by three beats, made a nice push in the second 500 meters to not only take the lead, but to make this into a two-boat race.

The Juniors and Freshmen opened up a two-boat length lead on the two other classes and started to push each other down the course. In the third 500 meters, still under-stroking the Juniors, the Freshmen eliminated any doubt of the outcome of the race by opening a up a full length lead.

While the Seniors and Sophomores continued to fall off the pace set by the leading crews, they did lock into a great battle between themselves. The Freshmen might have been merciful, or might have run out of some gas, but they didn't open the lead any further in the last 500 meters, crossing the line 2.5 seconds ahead of the Juniors. The Seniors were able to hold of the Sophomores by 1.5 seconds.

The lightweights begin the 2011 spring season on Saturday, April 2 when they welcome Delaware, Marietta and Williams to the Schuylkill River.