FELLESMERE, Fla. -- Showing strong results from a solid week of training in Florida, Columbia's three rowing programs rang up a near-perfect day of racing against Florida Tech and Jacksonville on Canal 54.
Only a close loss by the Columbia varsity lightweight eight against FIT's heavyweight eight marred the day for the Lions. The lightweights won their other varsity eight race, against Jacksonville's heavyweights, by 5.9 seconds, and took two fours races, one over a Lion heavyweight four.
The heavyweights defeated both Florida Tech and Jacksonville in varsity eights races. In the morning, coach Mike Zimmer's varsity topped FIT by 5.3 seconds, while in the afternoon, the Lion heavies beat the Dolphins by 9.2 seconds.
The women's teams, coming off a superb fall season, swept five of five races at the Governor's Cup. Scott Ramsey's rowers defeated Jacksonville by more than 30 seconds, and FIT by 48 seconds. The Columbia 2V also rowed in the latter race, topping FIT by 37 seconds.
It was a good week of training," Ramsey said. "We got a tremendous volume of work in, racing for seats."
Despite the highly-competitive seat racing, Columbia's lineups remained close to those that completed last fall's rowing.
Scott Alwin echoed his fellow head coach, noting that, "We had a good week down here."
They were able to cap that week with the Governor's Cup regatta. "We opened by beating Jacksonville's heavyweights by 5.9 seconds. That was a solid performance. It's always nice to start the season with a win."
Alwin, who only brought 12 squad members to Florida, leaving the rest in New York to row time trials on the Harlem River, was pleased with his fours, and, despite their loss, with the eight's race against the FIT first heavyweight eight.
Interestingly, Columbia's splits for the first 500 and 1000 meters were exactly the same as those in last year's race vs. the Florida Tech heavies. Despite the Floridians' height and size advantage, Columbia was down by only six seconds at the halfway point, and decreased that margin the second half of the 2000-meter event.     
"We were overlapping with FIT for most of the second half of the race," Alwin recalled. "I was pleased to see the progress we've made."
Men's heavyweight coach Mike Zimmer was more than pleased with his team's showing after the week in the Sunshine State.
"FIT has really improved a lot in recent years," Zimmer said. "They gave a pretty good effort today.
"In the past, we'd trail early in our varsity eights races against them, then catch up. But this time we got off the line extremely well, took the lead, and then extended it in the second 500." Columbia held its margin the rest of the way, winning in 5:53.3 to FIT's 5:58.6.
"I think we are much quicker off the [starting] line this year," he said. "You can attribute some of that to our freshmen." This is the first season of varsity eligibility for men's heavyweight and lightweight crews.
The advent of freshman eligibility has drastically altered Zimmer's lineups. Many first-years have moved into Columbia's boats, evicting veterans of previous years.
"Six people who were in last year's first varsity are in the second varsity this season." the coach noted, "and some of those who were in the 1V are now in the 3V."
"We have had," Zimmer admitted, "to sort through these guys."
The good news about that? "It means," Zimmer said, "good racing by everyone."
The heavyweights will open the home portion of Columbia Rowing's 2013 schedule Saturday, March 30, against Rutgers in the Collins Cup regatta at the Lions' venerable Harlem River site. The women's crew opens with a tough challenge, the Connell Cup regatta against Yale and Penn on Philadelphia's Schuylkill River.
The Lion lightweights have the weekend off; they open Saturday, April 6, with a doubleheader: Navy in Annapolis in the early morning, and Delaware in early afternoon in Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, N.J.
Starting times for all of this week's races will be announced later in the week.
The Governor's Cup results:

The Governor's Cup
Columbia, Florida Tech, Jacksonville
March 23, 2013
Canal 54, Fellsmere, Fla.

Men's Rowing (Columbia)

Varsity Eights
1. Columbia HWT, 5:53.3
2. Florida Tech (FIT) HWT, 5:58.6

Varsity Eights
1. Columbia LWT, 6:05.4
2. Jacksonville HWT, 6:11.3

Varsity Fours+
1. Columbia HWT A, 6:38.8
2. Columbia HWT B, 6:41.0
3. FIT, 6:47.8

Varsity Fours+
1. Columbia LWT, 6:56.7
2. Jacksonville, 7:04.7

Varsity Eights
1. FIT HWT, 6:01.0
2. Columbia LWT, 6:03.5

Varsity Eights
1. Columbia HWT, 5:58.9
2. Jacksonville HWT, 6:08.1

Second Varsity Eights
1. Columbia HWT, 6:05.3
2. Jacksonville, 6:25

Third Varsity Eights
1. Columbia HWT, 6:07.6
2. FIT, 6:27.3
3. Jacksonville, 6:40.9

Varsity Fours+
1. Columbia LWT, 6:59.1
2. Columbia HWT, 7:13.9

Varsity Fours+
1. Columbia HWT, 7:04.7
2. FIT, 7:21.4

Women's Rowing (Columbia)

Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 6:48.5
2. Jacksonville, 7:22.9

Second Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 6:56.1
2. Jacksonville, 7:53.9

Varsity Fours+
1. Columbia, 7:47.4
2. Jacksonville, 8:54.8

Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 6:48.4
2. Columbia 2V, 6:59.3
3. FIT, 7:36.2

Varsity Fours+
1. Columbia B, 7:58.3
2. Columbia A, 8:04.1
3. FIT, 8:05.0

Today's Boatings in the Governor's Cup

Women's Rowing

Vs. Jacksonville:

Varsity Eight
Aneesha Baliga, cox; Rebecca Randall, stroke; Fiona Duffy, 7; Karli McMenamin, 6; Jocelyn Bohn, 5; Caitlin Shufelt, 4; Kellie Solowski, 3; Jessica Werlin, 2; Lottie Galliano, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Clare Hua, cox; India Knight, stroke; Hayley Weil, 7; Colleen Condon, 6; Amelia  Brunner, 5; Madeline O'Brien, 4; Hilary Going, 3; Alexandra Swift, 2; Sylvie Krekow, bow

Varsity Four
Clare Hua, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Elisa Mirkil, 3; Maia Claman, 2; Carly Tashjian, bow

Vs. FIT: 1V and 2 V eights are the same; the fours are different

Varsity Four A
Jill Klein, cox; Kenzie Bess, stroke; Elisa Mirkil, 3; Maia Claman, 2; Carly Tashjian, bow

Varsity Four B
Marial Quezada, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Nikki Tomm, 3; Lauren Peirce, 2; Sara Hyten, bow

Heavyweight Rowing

Varsity Eight
Andrew Lake, cox; Buck Goggin, stroke; Alexander Simmonds, 7; Emmett Gross, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Clemens Auersperg, 4; Alex Barkume, 3; Elliot Meade, 2; James Glynn, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Vivian Zhang, cox; Mike Donohue, stroke; John Clapp, 7; D.J. Dlesk, 6; Charles Wu, 5; Josh Fram, 4; Ben Coombs, 3; Connor Jones, 2; Noah Whitehead, bow

Third Varsity Eight
Andrew Tang, cox; Daniel Kolbe, stroke; Jack Michaud, 7; Christian Aral, 6; Phillip Fletcher, 5; Max Lawton, 4; Zach Ellenbogen, 3; Sam Harris, 2; Brent Laurint, bow

Lightweight Rowing

Varsity Eight
Erica Cunningham, cox; Griffin Whitlock, stroke; Fredrik Aasaaren, 7; Jacob Buczek, 6; John O'Mara, 5; Jonathon Rosow, 4; Blake Pinell, 3; Steven Boyle, 2; Matt Bellesheim, bow

Varsity Four
Stone Cao, cox; Anders Smedsrud, stroke; John Zucchi, 3; Oliver Ingram, 2; James Winford, bow