Tuesday, May 29, 2007

IRA Fours

The addition of the four to the IRA, even as an exhibition, is a great step forward for women's lightweight rowing. I don't know what will be used to determine if it becomes a permanent event, but I'm sure interest will be high. With a bit more notice more schools will be able to plan for the race and I would guess that it will become one of the more competitive events (both to enter and to win) at the IRA.

Pitt's absence from the field leaves us without an obvious favorite, although perhaps not everyone would agree. While Pitt beat up on the Knecht Cup field by almost 14 seconds, at Dad Vail Lawrence was within 7 seconds. The only boat in this field that didn't race either Lawrence or Pitt this spring is Princeton. The Tigers did, however, race Pitt in the HOCR, finishing 18 seconds back. This looked like a pretty big gap then, but now that we've seen Pitt race 2ks, it doesn't seem quite as large.

I think Lawrence, though, must be considered the favorite in this race. At only 13 seconds behind Pitt at Dad Vail, Duquesne can claim to be a likely second. Princeton's chances, I think, are tempered by how they approach this race. If they use it to race a fast boat - say the top four from their 2V - they've got to be one of the favorites. If on the other hand, they use it as a development race for some of their freshmen, they're not. The same goes for Wisconsin, Radcliffe, and Georgetown, although to a lesser extent since their 2Vs weren't up to Princeton's speed. With the quirkiness of the four though (meaning it takes more skill to row it well), any one of these crews could put out a very fast boat.

Lawrence's biggest enemy, I think, will be their lack of big race experience. Or really, just race experience. This didn't seem to bother them at Dad Vail, however, so they apparently know how to handle it. If they race with confidence and poise, Lawrence can pull this off. We can't count out Duquesne, however, because 5 seconds (Dad Vail time to Lawrence) isn't a huge gap to a crew that made up 20 seconds on Pitt between Knecht and Dad Vail. But with all of the Sprints schools unknowns, truly anything can happen. Without heats, each crew will have to watch the entire field for a sign of who will challenge, adding pressure to the coxswain's job. These fours could very well provide the most exciting racing of the regatta, a result that just might ensure a 2008 race.


Anonymous said...

One has to wonder why, Lawrence, lacking in race experience wouldn't have made the 100 min drive from Appleton to Madison to race at the Midwest Championships.

Anonymous said...

Lawrence did make the trip to Madison. Since all the Wisco ltwt 4s raced in the open 4 race, they did as well. The Lawrence four at Madison was the Ltwt 4.

Anonymous said...

Is this race definately an exhibition because the latest schedule calls it the Lightweight Women's Four With Coxswain Championship. And couldn't they have put it last, it seems more important then the Men's Varsity Four E and F final. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know. And E and F final for Men's Varsity Fours could be pretty important. Definately a deciding factor for men's national championships!!

Anonymous said...

I don't see how you have Lawrence as a favorite when they lost to Wisconsin at Midwests and then Wisconsin's four lost to Georgetown and Stanford.

JW Burk said...

A couple of points: It wasn't clear until the comment above that the Lawrence boat at Midwest's was the light four. Nonetheless, the question is who was in the Wisco four. Given how the Badger fours did at Knecht, it's likely that Wisconsin had rowers from the 1V racing the four at Midwest's. That won't be the case at IRAs. it all depends on who the Sprints schools have in their fours. If Wisconsin puts out the Knecht fours, Lawrence should beat them. If they were able to put out a four from the 1V, Wisco should win.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Wisconsin used Midwest as a seatrace mechanism for their lightweight team.

And, I would hesitate about using an apparently lack of race experience as a factor against the Lawrence crew. Those women keep their heads in the boat.

Anonymous said...

Results from the IRA Four:
1) Princeton 07:26.749
2) Wisconsin 07:32.840
3) Lawrence 07:39.001
... 6)Radcliffe 08:08.985

Wisconsin 4 included 3 Freshmen. I'm curious how the Radcliffe 4 were selected given the fact that their Varsity 8 was populated with 4 freshmen.