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Hopes high for crew teams after strong Knecht Cup showing

May 4, 2018

This Saturday, the men and women’s rowing teams will compete in the New England Rowing Championships in Worcester, Massachusetts. The regatta will be the second of the program’s three championships, which also include the Knecht Cup and the Dad Vail.

Both teams are confident going into this weekend after their success in April at the Knecht cup. The men’s team won gold in the Novice Men’s Fours event, finishing ahead of Carnegie Mellon. In the Varsity Men’s Fours event, the team took both gold and silver. The women’s side earned both first and second place in the Women’s Varsity Fours, ahead of Franklin and Marshall.

“It was a great regatta, and we are really happy with the results and team performance,” said Head Coach Gil Birney.
Participants in the Knecht Cup overcame harsh weather conditions. Later that night, some events were canceled because the wind and tide made it impossible to line up the boats at the starting line.

“The weather was beautiful during the day. It was almost in the 80s. But right before our race that night, we were out in the warm-up area waiting to get on the course and the wind really picked up,” said Erin Jeter ’18.

After a successful outing at the Knecht Cup, the rowing teams continued their dominance in the fours events at the Riverhawk Challenge in Lowell, Mass. The Men’s Varsity Fours finished in first and third place with Massachusetts Maritime sandwiched in between. The women’s team finished in second place, falling just short of Franklin Pierce. Between both teams, Bowdoin earned a total of six medals.

The Knecht Cup was an important accomplishment for the rowing program because the level of competition was similar to that of the New England Rowing Championships and the Dad Vail Regatta.

“A lot of the competition that we saw at Knecht Cup will also be at New Englands, so it allows us to set a benchmark to determine how we compare to the competition,” said captain Philip Wang ’18. “It’s good to see, but you also need to remember that a lot can happen in three weeks.”

The women’s team is looking to sweep their races in the upcoming championship.

“I think that the morale is very high at this point,” Jeter said. “We usually do really well in the fours because that’s where we put most of our time, so seeing some of the other schools that don’t put as much focus on the fours gives us a lot of confidence. We are excited to see how it goes.”

The team’s recent success has been especially important due to Birney’s upcoming retirement. In November, Birney announced that this season will be the last of his 22 year career as a rowing coach at Bowdoin.

“The whole team is pretty sentimental about it,” Wang said. “We all love him. I think we all have the mindset that we want to give him a strong finish as he retires. So far, I think we have been doing a pretty good job of that.”

The rowing teams will kick off the races on Saturday at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Massachusetts.


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