The spring of 2021 saw the largest turnout ever for the boys rowing team. 53 athletes returned to campus in April and began training together. Our early weeks had us working hard on campus, using the ergs and rowing tanks to develop our technique while we mixed in cross training sessions that focused on strength. By late April, we were able to begin spending some of our sessions on the water and it was outstanding to return to the Connecticut River after so many months away from it. The focus, drive, and positive attitude of the athletes ensured that each practice was productive and good speed was evident in boats at all levels. The end of April and start of May provided opportunities to scrimmage with Northfield Mount Herman and Berkshire – experiences that proved extremely beneficial in the lead up to our first race against Belmont Hill.
On May 15, 36 athletes traveled to Boston for a regatta with Belmont Hill, the 2019 New England Team Champions. As has been the case in recent years, the racing between the two programs was exceptionally competitive and all crews showed impressive ability and toughness.
The afternoon began with the 4V8, a crew composed entirely of novice rowers who took their first strokes this spring. In their race, this group showed just how far they’ve come in a few short weeks as they matched Belmont Hill stroke for stroke down the course with neither boat gaining more than a couple feet of advantage at any point. With about 200 meters to go, charging for the finish line, the Deerfield crew caught a crab, which allowed the Belmont Hill boat to slide into the lead. A quick recovery allow Deerfield to get back into the race and close the gap, before ultimately finishing 5.5 seconds behind. Despite the result, this was an outstanding effort from the entire boat and a truly exciting race to watch.
Next up was the 3V8, which was, again, a boat made up almost entirely of novices. Similar to their teammates, they weren’t intimidated by their first race, instead, they thrived in the competitive environment. From the first stroke to the last, both the Belmont Hill and Deerfield crews traded the lead with neither boat gaining more than a few feet on the other. A strong charge in the closing meters saw Belmont Hill sneak by to secure the victory by the narrowest of margins – .3 seconds! It was another impressive effort and one that certainly bodes well for the future!
The final 8s race of the day was up next as the 2V8s faced off. An aggressive start launched Deerfield to an early lead and they maintained the advantage all the way to the finish. They rowed with poise and power, attacking each stroke. By the time they hit the finish line, Deerfield had edged Belmont Hill by 3.5 seconds.
The Deerfield 2V4 took a page out of their teammates’ playbook and blasted off the starting line with their opening strokes. Their strong start allowed them to establish a good lead over Belmont Hill, which they continue to expand all the way down the course. When they crossed the finish line, the Deerfield crew had pulled ahead by 6.4 seconds – a hard fought win over a strong group from Belmont Hill.
The final race of the day saw the top Deerfield four match up with Belmont Hill’s top crew. The opening strokes saw both boats working hard to get to top speed. By the time they had shifted to their base rhythm, Belmont Hill had edged out to a slight lead. Throughout the body of the race, they continue to ease away from Deerfield, ultimately hitting the finish with a 5.6 second advantage.
Thanks for Row2k.com for providing complete results, which can be found here: https://www.row2k.com/results/resultspage.cfm?UID=D9DD41956D730623531118B009568F80&cat=1
The Deerfield boats will return to racing on Saturday, May 22, against Salisbury School on Lake Washinee.