Writeup by Tee Johnson ’69: A set of low clouds delivered a light, slow drizzle from the start of the final race series today at 8:00 a.m.
Thankfully, there was just a hint of an easterly breeze (2+ knots) and the temperature on-shore cooled to 70 degrees. The course was fast, the crews were psyched, and the crowd was thicker than any other day of the series. You could taste the concentration of the men and women as they hunkered down to stake a claim on their last shot at the year’s national title.
All of the teams knew that whatever best time they posted in the previous two days, they were going to have to exceed it. Everyone was reaching deep, trying for that last-minute inspiration (the miracle of a third and fourth wind) to push them through.
The sky had just started to clear as Deerfield crossed the starting line at 1:00 p.m. with Los Gatos, Marina Aquatic Junior, Episcopal, and Saratoga, but everyone knew it was going to be a war of attrition between the Big Green and the Belmont Hill boat.
For the entire length of the course, it was a close race. All teams were well ahead of their previous best time(s), but the last 300 yards was the nail-biter. Deerfield ended up just stoking-through Belmont Hills’ pace to finish less than one half-second ahead and clinch the title with a best time of 6:40.967.
To add some perspective to the effort, the previous heat of Men’s Youth 4+ (Final B) was won by Bainbridge Island in a time that was a full 13 seconds off the pace set by Deerfield and Belmont Hill. That would have translated to a difference of 8+ (eight+) boat-lengths, an eternity in this type of competition.
This race series was not just a superior effort by the team and coaching staff, but a benchmark for Deerfield Rowing, showing that Deerfield has fully realized a strong program of national calibre that has every indication of reaching dynastic proportions. This team has not just “paid the rent” for the men and women that will follow–they have set a great example in the process. WELL DONE!
See you next year, race fans.