PRINCETON, N.J. — Columbia's varsity heavyweight eight did just fine in the beginning of the race for the Maxwell Stevenson Cup, and almost as fine at the end. In the middle, though, the "middle 1000", as rowers say, the Lions permitted Navy to take control, and ultimately to take the Cup back to Annapolis after three years in the Columbia boathouse.
Retaining the Cup in 2011 loomed as a formidable task. Boasting one of its best eights in years, Navy had been highly competitive this spring, while Columbia, after a good beginning, had rowed in rough waters, both figuratively and literally, during the past month. Still, head coach Mike Zimmer said, "I had hoped to do a little better today."
Zimmer had based that feeling, in part, on the Lions' good practices. He felt they were rowing completely to form, when they came off the starting line strongly on Princeton's sun-drenched Lake Carnegie.
His good feelings lasted through the first the first 500 meters. Columbia was keeping up with Navy, and staying ahead of George Washington, rowing in the Stevenson Cup as a guest.
"I thought we could row bow-to-bow in the body of the race," Zimmer noted, "but Navy was very aggressive in the middle 1000, the body of the race, and we couldn't match that."
Navy pulled out to a sizable lead in the middle 1000, and never relinquished it. The Lions did threaten in the final 300 meters, though. "We didn't stop working," the coach said. "We got our bow into their stern." But the Midshipmen were able to pull away to a 3.3 second winning margin, 6:00.3 to the Lions' 6:03.3, with George Washington third in 6:21.3.
The Lion freshman eight also rowed pretty well, staying with Navy as long as possible. Although the Middies were able to pull away at the end for a victory, 6:2.1 to 6:36.9, Columbia finished well ahead of George Washington, which was timed in 6:50.5.
"Our freshmen were better than they have been," Zimmer said, "but they still have a lot of work to do."
All of the Columbia rowers have two weeks in which to do that work, as well as deal with final exams. The Lions compete at the Eastern Sprints Sunday, March 15, on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass.
The Maxwell Stevenson Cup (for winner of Columbia-Navy competition, G.W. rowing as a guest)
Columbia, Navy, George Washington
April 30, 2011
Lake Carnegie, Princeton, N.J.
1. Navy, 6:00.3
2. Columbia, 6:03.6
3. George Washington, 6:21.6
Second Varsity Eights
1. Navy 2V, 6:16.9
2. Navy 3V, 6:21.7
3. George Washington, 6:33.3
4. Columbia, 6:40.0
1. Navy, 6:22.1
2. Columbia, 6:36.9
3. George Washington, 6:50.5
Today's Boatings vs. Navy with George Washington at Princeton
Janelle Geddes, cox; Sam Collins, stroke; Mike Donohue, 7; Sebastian Kirwan, 6; Ian Winthrop, 5; Noah Whitehead, 4; Greg Hawxhurst, 3; Mike Rawlings, 2; Charles Wu, bow
Second Varsity Eight
Andrew Lake, cox; Forrest Anderson, stroke; Matt Celano, 7; Ryan Jones, 6; Kyle Schmidt, 5; Phillip Fletcher, 4; Erik Schiferle, 3; Tom Olivera, 2; Christopher Austin, bow
Seungki Lee, cox; Clemens Auersperg, stroke; Ben Coombs, 7; Connor Jones, 6; Matt Lonski, 5; Nick Sinchak, 4; John Clapp, 3; Daniel Kolbe, 2; Brent Laurint, bow