HANOVER, N.H. -- Scott Alwin could tell almost immediately that this day was going to be different. The current was not as swift as it usually is on the Connecticut in April, the winds were not as strong, and his lightweight rowers were back to the fierce determination they usually exhibit in a race.
"You could tell right away that we were rowing the way we had come to expect," Alwin said, his disappointment from Saturday's Geiger Cup regatta already becoming just a bad memory. "They had righted themselves."
He didn't have to wait for the varsity eights race, the last of three on the program for the Subin Cup regatta. All he had to do was watch the freshman eight in action.
Alwin and assistant coach Nich Parker had made several lineup changes in an effort to pick up speed, and speed is what they saw from the eight, as early as the first third of the 2000-meter race.
Dartmouth got off to a good start, and went up, but by no more than three or four seats. The Big Green still led coming up on the halfway point, when Columbia made its move -- or more correctly, its wait.
"Logan Pirkl made a good call," Alwin said of the freshman coxswain. "He waited for Dartmouth to make its move. After they did, he countered it, and called Columbia's move."
The move brought the Lions level with the Green, and level they remained, as they navigated the Connecticut River course. "They had a real battle," Alwin said, "and it was very, very close at the finish." But the Lion boat crossed the finish line first, .7 better than Dartmouth, in 5:49.2 to 5:49.9. The Big Green's second freshman eight was third.
"This was an important win," Alwin said. "It was very important for them to win and earn a shirt."
The second varsity eights followed much the same script, though with the roles reversed. Columbia went out to a four-seat lead, but could not hold off the Green for long. Once again, the two eights battled down to the wire. This time, however, Dartmouth pulled out the victory, beating Columbia by 1.2 seconds.
"[Their rowing] was a little sloppy," Alwin noted, "but better today than yesterday."
The varsity eight also lost little time in exhibiting its transformation. It got off to a good start, much improved over Saturday's effort, and hung in there with a Green eight that had shocked Yale with a solid victory the day before.
"We were very aggressive in the first 1000," Alwin said, "even though we hadn't planned that." That aggressiveness was destined to hurt the Lions in the latter stages of the race, though. Rowing at a high rating to keep pace, they began to fall back. By the final 500 meters, Dartmouth had opened its lead to a full length.
"We didn't have enough left in the last 500," the coach said. "We ran out of gas." But Alwin was elated by his crew's rebound from their Saturday race. "Our rowing today proved that yesterday's race was just a one-time occurrence."
The lightweights now embark upon a three-week break from competition, leading up to the Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Mass., Sunday May 13.
"Today's rowing set us up well for the Sprints, [preparing] to make the Grand Finals."    
The Subin Cup results:

The Subin Cup
Columbia vs. Dartmouth
April 22, 2012
Connecticut River, Hanover, N.H.

Varsity Eights

1. Dartmouth, 5:33.4
2. Columbia, 5:39.6

Second Varsity Eights
1. Dartmouth, 5:41.6
2. Columbia, 5:42.8

Freshman Eights

1. Columbia, 5:49.2
2. Dartmouth, 5:49.9
3. Dartmouth 2F, 6:03.9

Today's Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Stone Cao, cox; Daniel Kirrane, stroke; Bruno Salemme, 7; John O'Mara, 6; Curtis Kachline, 5;  John Hold, 4; James Kahmann, 3; Noah Buckley, 2; James Winford, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Amelia Kudenholdt, cox; Blake Pinell, stroke;  Graham Pupo, 7; Roger Stone, 6; John Zucchi, 5; Connor Dougherty, 4; Lane Brokaw, 3; Anders Smedsrud, 2; Steven Boyle, bow

Freshman Eight
Logan Pirkl, cox; Griffin Whitlock, stroke; Ben Blair, 7; Fredrik Aasaaren, 6; Matt Bellesheim, 5; Travis Simon, 4; Charlie Stigler, 3; Max Segall, 2; Thabet Mahayni,  bow