The News Page: 4/9/06 FLICK#4

By David Greenspan_________________________________________________________  

What a beautiful day this was, in the mid 50's, sunny, a 5-10 mph tailwind right down the river. I had the opportunity to actually watch a couple of the races by bicycle. Biking down the west river drive (Martin Luther King now), is a great way to watch the races in early April. Too much vegetation later in the season, but now with the roads closed it makes for ideal viewing save for the island in that last 1/4 of the race.

The Women's frosh 8 came in 4th in their row, only a length out of 3rd. This is more competitive than with past performances. The spring training of double sessions will double their overall mileage as a crew bringing them along a good way toward the big races that start in about 4 weeks. The Women's LV4+ also came in 4th. I would like to hear more.

The JV 4 didn't get to start being run over by an 8 racing from Oakcrest. I am waiting for more details, but this very unfortunate incident can only be understood by addressing the judges launch management of the race. Oakcrest was way off course, but the coxswain cannot see in front of her boat. Our 4, sitting in her blind spot, has to see to move out of harms way, if possible, or the race judge in the following launch has to guide the 8 back onto the race course. Our coxswain, Patty, was hurt but I hear not too badly after an evaluation at the hospital. I know the ladies were scared and should have been. Though crew is not typically a dangerous contact sport, there have been serious injuries, even deaths, in just such incidents. It is never ok not to be serious and take appropriate precautions when out on the water, especially with these big boats.

The Women's Varsity 8 pulled out a come from behind victory, a race I got to watch by bike. Off the line, Episcopal had the early lead, then a deck back was Prendergast, and then LM two seats further back in 3rd came out from under the bridge. It was still a three boat race at 500 gone with roughly these same positions, but then Episcopal began to falter. LM and Prendergast pulled even at about 750 to go, and from there on in it was all LM. The Ladies clearly took their move at the 1/2 and by the top of the island were a good 1/2 of a length up on Prendergast and 3/4 length on Episcopal who was fading. Prendergast came on after the tip of the island but not enough to beat LM who won in 5:07.54 by 1/2 a length over Prendergast and a bit more than a length over Episcopal. This Prendergast boat beat them by a length just the week before.

The Men's frosh 4+ struggled, but the frosh 8 had a fine row, much improved over last week. They were moving on St. Joe's B through the island but settled for 3rd by 1/2 a length in their heat. The JV4+ also came in third by an even tighter margin of a mere 0.5 seconds to NE Catholic.

The Men's Varsity Lightweight 4 also won a squeaker showing the perseverence of this tough crew. Only a fair start put the boys in second by 1/2 a length at the bridge when Haverford made its first move. By the 500m mark, Haverford had pulled out to a length and added a deck of open water by the 750 mark. LM started to crawl back and with 500 meters to go was still a length down. But that seemed about it when I lost them at the top of the island and 400 meters to go. Evidently, not so. According to Steve Krajewski and Aaron Greenspan, the sprint began at the top of the island with "a series of 10's to get the rating up to a 37. Then we took a flying start at the end of the island and rowed through Haverford to win by a deck" in 5:01. I caught up to them at the end of the island with them moving nearly a seat every couple of strokes and couldn't believe my eyes. I had thought it was over just 30 seconds earlier. "We had a terrible early row, Ryan has been really sick, we were in our new hull again and it wasn't rigged well, the boat was down to port until the sprint. Just an amazing come back", said Aaron. Steve added, "that was fun, I waited for Aaron to call the move. We never did anything like that before. We have sprinted to hold off boats, but never sprinted to win a race."

The Men's Varsity Heavy 4 continues to struggle, but after a slow start off the line coming through the bridge in 6th they showed good spirit coming through the Harriton A boat from over a 1/2 length down by the 1/2. They moved on Harriton B at that point and closed significantly on Atlantic City A but had to settle for 5th by 2 seconds.

Spring break allows for lots of miles to be covered, a great help for all of the crews. Though winning is great fun, and clearly one of the objectives for all of the hard work, it is only one of those objectives. Each of these athletes is learning about fitness, teamwork, the power of the mind for good when psyched, and for bad when morale is down. The double sessions will test these athletes physically and mentally. And, with luck, will pull them together even tighter into real 'crews'.

And lets not forget those parents, pitching in at the tent, the food, the trailer, and the cheering.

The season is less than 1/2 over, and the racing begins again in two weeks with the last of the Flick races and the medal season begining the following week at the Cooper river in NJ. GO LM CREW!

All the race results can be reviewed HERE