LYNDHURST, N.J. — Braving the high wind conditions that buffeted the Metropolitan area Saturday, the Columbia's men's lightweight crews got the 2011-12 rowing season off to a solid start by capturing the top three places in the Open Men's Eights at the Head of the Passaic regatta.
Columbia's B boat finished first, covering the 2.5 mile course in 14:04.32, just three seconds in front of Columbia D. The Lions' A boat completed the 1-2-3 finish when it crossed the finish line in 15:01.57.
"With the addition of last season's freshman rowers to our veterans," head coach Scott Alwin said, "we can field two good eights now." Rowers in those two eights, he noted, should yield a strong boat for next Sunday's Head of the Charles regatta.
Columbia's other competitors should also make major contributions, Alwin said, "but we need more work."
That the regatta was held at all was testimony to the sheltered areas through which the Passaic runs.
"At almost any other course," Alwin said, "they wouldn't have been able to have racing, with these winds." The shells did have to make their way against headwinds all morning. "Those headwinds definitely slowed our times down," he said.
The Lion lightweights will join their women's and heavyweight counterparts in Boston's Head of the Charles next Sunday, October 25.
The results:

The Head of the Passaic
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Passaic River, Lyndhurst, N.J.

Men's Open Eights (2.5 miles)

1. Columbia B, 14:04.32
2. Columbia D, 14:07.39
3. Columbia A, 15:01.57
4. Nereid B.C., 15:35.97
5. Columbia E, 16:42.77
6. East Arm RC, 16:52.95
7. Columbia C, 17:15.90