10 May 2009



The Men's Freshman Four finished fifth in the Grand Final of the Dad Vail Regatta on Saturday. This is the first time in a decade that a crew has made it to the Grand Final at this regatta. This is even more impressive when you consider that there were fifty-one entries in this rowing event.


Due to a swollen Schuykill River in Philadelphia, the preliminary races were changed to a 'Head-Style' time trial in order to assure that the race conditions would be fair for all crews. Just a day prior to the race, the race course which consists of starting platforms and 2000 meter long race lanes of buoys was ripped from the moorings due to the fast moving water and trees floating by. The second day which consisted of semi-finals and finals were run in the traditional 'six crews across' format.


After rowing through these makeshift qualifying trials in the first day of competition, the Men's Varsity Four of Coxswain Robert Kaldenbach, Stoke- Bradford Webster, 3- Erik Henden, 2-James Sanwald, and Bow- Charles Waters rowed strongly but just narrowly missed making the semi-finals by 1.3 seconds. The crew's fine rowing placed them 21st of 53 crews entered in that event.


While  the Women's Pair of Stroke- Anna Simons and Bow Kacey Rohloff rowed well and finished18th, they also failed to qualify for the second day of racing. Despite their Frosh - Novice status, Simons and Rohloff were required to race in the higher level of Open Varsity. Considering their victory at the New York State Championships last week and Metro Champs earlier in the season, the pair shows great potential for the future.


In action on Saturday morning, the Frosh Four of coxswain William Walls, Stroke Frank Osborne, 3- Connan Ingham, and Bow Thomas Gambill, had to row 'Head to head' with some of  the finest crews in the country. The crew followed the race plan to 'get out and hold a qualifying position' from start to finish; and they did just that.The University of  Ohio crew was just a bit stronger and able to hold the lead to the finish line.Excited to make the final and the prospects of winning a medal, the crew then set to work to laying some strategy for the Final Race.


The weather conditions changed throughout the day and by the time of the Frosh Four's race, the conditioned

worsened to the point of large swells crashing over the bows of the thin shells and soaking the coxswains who were tucked into the open bow cockpits. The crew rowed hard but the rougher conditions seemed to favor some of the other crews. Army won the event while Kings Point finished fifth. The crew finished fifth amongst the top fifty-one crews in the country and added forty-six more W's to their WIN column.


The fine performance of the Frosh Four seemed a fitting finale for the season since it was the best overall season for the team in many years. It was especially fitting since the team's graduating Seniors Webster and Henden were denied the possibility of rowing in the final in their Freshman year because of poor seeding that placed them in a heat with the ultimate 1st and 3rd place crews. Despite having recorded the fourth fastest time amongst forty-four crews in 2006, the crew unfortunately never got past the preliminary  heats.


This regatta marks the end of the Varsity Rowing season. It was a  fine season indeed!



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