Monday, October 23, 2006

HOCR Results - Fours

The lightweight fours race contained the biggest surprise of the regatta as Pittsburgh rowed to a third place, and top US collegiate crew, finish. I don't know if this is the Pitt four that has been racing the last couple of seasons or if they are a new crew, but some focus on that boat has clearly paid off. I doubt I would be wrong to say that no one (perhaps not even the Panthers themselves?) thought they would move down this course as fast as they did. As they came through Eliot Bridge it was obvious something special was going on in that boat. Their placement in the field showed they were moving fast, but it wasn't until the results were posted that we knew just how fast. This is an excellent result for Pitt and this boat should be a terror in the spring.

Eighteen seconds back, in 7th place overall, was the next US collegiate crew - Princeton. As the Tiger crew came into sight approaching the Eliot Bridge, the boat was swinging wide around the turn and barely avoided running their oars along the bridge arch. The crew recovered and rowed strongly to the finish but Pitt would go unchallenged and Princeton would wait for the spring season and straighter courses.

Hot on Princeton's heels, less than a second back, was the University of Tulsa. This Tulsa crew contained three freshman and a senior all of whom (the freshmen at least) were specifically recruited as lightweights from excellent junior programs like Saratoga, Austin, and Everett. Tulsa is building up their lightweight program and this was a pretty good start. This is another boat that will be worth watching in the spring.

In places 13 through 16, Pacific Lutheran, URI, Georgia State, and Penn State rounded out the field. URI's (ninth in the nation last spring) inability, or unwillingness, to race an eight at HOCR raises some questions about the focus of that program. It may just be that fall priorities are elsewhere and lightweights were racing in other boats. If PLU sent a four across the country, they must be serious about racing it in the spring. Lightweight races can be hard to come by on the West Coast, but light four races can be found. I think Georgia State and Penn State have both raced lightweights before so it's good to see them still in the mix.

Ever since a post on Dad Vails last year, there's always been some discussion here over the relative competitiveness of the fours vs the eights. I tend to look at it as how close each event finishes to its heavyweight counterparts. In this year's HOCR, the fours seem to be closer to the heavy fours than the eights are to the heavy eights. Comparing lightweight first place to heavyweight first place, lightweight second place to heavyweight second place, etc., the fours are closer as a percentage of time. For example, 3rd place Pitt took 5.3% longer to complete the course than 3rd place U Vic heavyweights in the fours, while 3rd place Riverside took 6.4% longer than 3rd place Princeton heavyweights in the eight. The eights are anywhere from 1 to 8.2% slower vs their heavyweight counterparts than the fours. In addition, if you look at the average time, the light eights took 9.7% longer than their heavyweight counterparts, while the fours took 5.7% longer. Do these numbers really prove anything? I'm not sure but they definitely keep the conversation going.

In the next day or so I'll have some more on the races as well as a picture or two.


Anonymous said...

The Pitt light 4+ has the same 3 girls as last spring with one girl gone on semester abroad. The stroke seat of the boat is the only one with a 2k time under 8:00 (7:52) and the bow seat weighs 107 lbs. What makes this boat move? Length and technique. So nice to see a boat that can do well without good erg scores huh?

PS- I don't know what it's like on other teams, but Pitt always rows mornings under cover of darkness

PSS-The inconsistent spring season was due to an official at Knecht Cup telling the boat not to move when they had not entered their lane yet. The officials then started the race with Pitt not in their lane and pointed directly into the shore line. The Pitt boat had to turn 90 degrees and then get into their lane before they could start. Needless to say they were 100m behind at the start and even still were able to catch some boats before the end.

Anonymous said...

Pitt looked good..actually great. Undine started last and won. What was all that about? Love to read your blog.

Anonymous said...

The Tulsa four was actually comprised of 3 freshmen and a senior. I remember seeing the senior two years ago at SIRA when Tulsa had a lightweight four competing. I think we should see great things from this crew in the future. It will be interesting to watch the development of lightweighs in Oklahoma!

Anonymous said...

The Tulsa website has an article about the race. In it, it says that the Tulsa boat "faltered" yet managed to bring the speed back up for a good finish. Anyone know what "faltered" means?

JW Burk said...

Thanks for all of the great comments!

The Pitt erg score comment will get its own post.

I corrected the Tulsa sophomore mistake.

I have no idea how Tulsa faltered either.