After the Drexel University men’s crew team had success at the University of California San Diego Invitational March 30 and 31, they had a weekend off from competition while the women’s team competed at the San Diego Crew Classic April 6 and 7.
The Drexel women’s varsity eight competed in the UC San Diego Health Cup. They were placed in the second heat for the first day of competition. After taking the lead in the first 500 meters of the race, they maintained the lead until the last 500 meters when the crew from San Diego University rowed past them to claim first place in the heat by less than a second. Both San Diego and the Dragons moved on to the grand finals which took place on the second day of competition.
The Drexel women’s second varsity eight competed for the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy against some of the top-20 ranked programs in the nation. The Dragons were in the second heat against the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, the University of Washington, as well as crews from the University of California Los Angeles, University of Tennessee, California State University, Sacramento and Saint Mary’s College of California. The Huskies from Washington came in first place by about 13 seconds ahead of UCLA. Drexel placed fifth in the heat which moved them into the third final which happened that afternoon.
In the third final for the trophy, the Dragons got second place behind San Diego by just over five seconds, which placed the Dragons in 14th place overall out of 17 teams.
On the next day of competition, the women’s varsity eight raced against Loyola Marymount University, San Diego, Sacramento State, Seattle Pacific University and Georgetown University. The Dragons won the event with a time of 6:48.587 which was a full length ahead of Loyola Marymount. With this victory, the Dragons claimed the UC San Diego Health Cup to bring back home to Philadelphia. They also received an invite for next season to compete in the Jessop-Whittier Cup Invitational, which is where all the top-20 ranked teams are invited to compete.
Both the men’s and women’s crew teams raced at the George Washington University Invitational on the Potomac River April 12 and 13. The men’s team brought a first, second and third varsity eight while the women brought a first and second varsity eight as well as a varsity four to compete.
Up first was the women’s varsity eight against Duquesne University. Drexel was leading by just about a full length ahead of Duquesne after the first 500 meters. They maintained the lead until the end winning by open water ahead of Duquesne and 19.1 seconds on the clock.
The men’s varsity eight raced against GW. The boats were overlapping for the first half of the race, but at the 600-meter mark, one of the GW rowers caught an over-the-head crab which caused the boat to have to stop before continuing to row. This gave the Dragons the opportunity to claim the lead and take the win with a time of 5:44.41 which was 1.86 seconds ahead of GW.
The second varsity eights raced the same competitors. The women’s varsity eight defeated Duquesne by 24.88 seconds, leading by a full boat length and open water after the first 500 meters. The men’s second varsity eight also defeated GW, but in a much closer race. GW had the lead from the first 500 meters, but the teams were neck-and-neck at the 1000-meter mark. The Dragons got the lead with 500 meters to go and won by 0.2 seconds.
The men’s third varsity eight raced GW and the crew from the United States Naval Academy. Navy took the win by almost nine seconds ahead of the Dragons, who got second place and GW finished last.
The women’s varsity four raced Duquesne and were about a boat length behind after the first 500 meters, but a huge move in before the 1000-meter mark gave them a notable lead of over 14 seconds, and they continued to hold on to this lead until the end. Drexel finished over 26 seconds ahead of Duquesne.
On the morning of the second day of competition, the women’s eights competed against the crew from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The women’s varsity eight finished with a time of 6:27.58 defeating MIT who came across the line with a time of 6:39.22. The women’s second varsity eight also defeated MIT in a similar fashion.
The men’s top-two varsity eights competed against Navy. The men’s first varsity eight lost to Navy by 5.78 seconds. The men’s second varsity eight also lost to Navy but by a closer margin of 1.14 seconds. The men’s third varsity eight raced GW and won by over six seconds. The Dragons led from the very beginning of the race and didn’t give GW any opportunity to walk back and regain contact.
The final races occured in the afternoon. The women’s boats raced GW and won all three races. The first varsity eight took the win with one of the fastest women’s times of the entire competition, 6:16.28. They defeated GW by almost 10 seconds. The second varsity eight had a closer race against GW. The Dragons had a much faster sprint at the end than GW which allowed them to win by 2.54 seconds. The varsity four took the lead from the start of the race, and were more than two full lengths ahead of GW by the 1500-meter mark. They defeated GW by just over 11 seconds.
The men’s eights raced Georgetown for their final duals of the competition. The men’s varsity eight pushed out to almost a full length by the 500-meter mark and had open water at 1000 meters. They finished with a time of 5:39.33 which was 7.41 seconds ahead of Georgetown. The second varsity eight had a tighter race coming down the course, but they also pulled off the win with a time of 5:47.89. The third varsity eight had a great race against Georgetown showing complete dominance. They won with a time of 6:01.74 which was 15.53 seconds ahead of Georgetown.
After all these races, there were slight changes in the rankings for the Dragons. The men’s varsity eight is ranked 19th in the nation, while the second and third varsity eights are now ranked 13th and 15th, respectively.
Both the men’s and women’s crew teams will compete at home on the Schuylkill River at the Kerr Cup Regatta April 20, and the Bergen and Kelly Cup Regattas April 27. Check out the teams on the river along Kelly Drive for some exciting races.