Daniel Roth // The Western Front
Fueled by excitement, passion and some dark leafy greens, Western men’s crew Varsity 4 took third place at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia Saturday, May 10.
Western beat out Bowdoin College, Drexel University and Duke University at the Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta in the U.S. At 6:29.12, Western was less than one second behind the second-place team, Oklahoma City University, at 6:28.254. Colgate University took first place with a time of 6:25.582.
The only west coast team competing in the V4, Western took first place in their semi-final-qualifying heat on Friday. Western also had the fastest time out of 49 boats racing on the course, said coxswain Genevieve Carrillo.
“That entire afternoon, [after the race], we were just flying high. We were so happy,” she said.
On Friday night, before the semi-finals, the team made sure to eat kale, Carrillo said.
“We call it our good-luck kale,” she said. “It’s just about the most Bellingham superstition you can have.”
The team’s good-luck ritual paid off, as Western again took first place in the V4 semi-finals at 6:53.995, eight seconds ahead of second place finisher Duke. This marks the first time the men’s team made it past the semi-finals, Carrillo said.
Just before the Grand Final for men’s V4, an unexpected storm hit and delayed the race by two hours, Brown said.
The Grand Final race was neck and neck between Western, Colgate and Oklahoma City, said stroke Henry Brown.
“[Colgate] beat us by four seconds – that’s about one boat length,” Brown said. “OKC beat us by one second – they had maybe half a boat on us.”
Carrillo said that the closeness of the race was tough to deal with.
“It kind of hurt to see it was so close,” Carrillo said. “Maybe we could have taken first if something would have gone differently.”
Men’s crew’s accomplishments at the Regatta gave Western unexpected recognition, Brown said.
“Competing with old, established and very prestigious crews, no one knew who we were,” Brown said. “But after our first race, putting the fastest time down, people would stop and say, ‘Oh, that’s Western!’”
By taking third at the Dad Vail, men’s crew met the goal they made last year to podium at a national regatta, Carrillo said.
“We’re excited to come back next year and win,” she added.
In two weeks, men’s crew V8 is getting back in the water for the American Collegiate Rowing Conference in Gainesville, Georgia. On Saturday, May 17, the team is hosting an Alumni Day on Lake Whatcom.