But head coach Mike Zimmer and Columbia's fans felt good about the Lions' chances, as the varsity heavyweight eight made its way down the course, holding off Yale's varsity eight in the Blackwell Cup.
"We got off the starting line cleanly," Zimmer said. "We were one up on the stagger. We made a very aggressive move early, and another one later. Coming out of the turn, we held a four to five seat margin."
Columbia still held a lead at the 1000, but the Bulldogs closed it up, pulling within 1-2 seats with 750 meters to go.
"At that point," the coach noted, "we started to struggle. Our coxswain had to work hard to avoid some debris in the water.
"With 500 to go, we were level with Yale," he said. 'In the last 500, we did not finish the race well at all."
Columbia yielded second to Yale, by a 6.2 second margin. The Penn varsity eights reduced the margin markedly, finishing just 1.5 seconds off Columbia's pace.
The second varsity eight hung in there to beat Yale by one second, and the third varsity eight placed three of four.
Next Saturday, Columbia will meet Syracuse and Boston U. in the Doc Lusins Trophy in Overpeck Park.
The Blackwell Cup
Columbia, Yale, Penn
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pa.
1. Yale, 5:23.4
2. Columbia, 5:29.6
3. Penn, 5:31.1
Second Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 5:29.4
2. Yale, 5:30.4
3. Penn, 5:36.0
Third Varsity/First Freshman Eights
1. Penn 1F, 5:33.7
2. Yale 3V, 5:34.4
3. Columbia 3V, 5:40.8
4. Penn 2F, 5:49.1
1. Yale, 6:06.2
2. Penn, 6:17.6
Andrew Lake, cox; Buck Goggin, stroke; Alexander Simmonds, 7; Clemens Auersperg, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Mike Donohue, 4; Alex Barkume, 3; Emmett Gross, 2; James Glynn, bow
Second Varsity Eight
Vivian Zhang, cox; Charles Wu, stroke; Noah Whitehead, 7; Elliot Meade, 6; Matt Ridgeway, 5; Josh Fram, 4; Ben Coombs, 3; Daniel Kolbe, 2; John Clapp, bow
Third Varsity Eight
Andrew Tang, cox; Christian Aral, stroke; Phillip Fletcher, 7; Sam Harris, 6; Jack Michaud, 5; Max Lawton, 4; Zach Ellenbogen, 3; Ben Charley, 2; Brent Laurint, bow
Debbie Levine, cox; Connor Murphy, stroke; Max Lindemann, 3; Jake Petterson, 2; Rob Cornacchia, bow