College rowing: Bates sweeps races, claims President’s Cup

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Shoes line the dock as teams from Bates, Colby and Bowdoin load and unload their boats during Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

GREENE — Bates College had the President’s Cup wrapped up, but had one more race remaining at Sunday’s regatta on the Androscoggin River.

To finish off a clean sweep of all of the races they entered, the Bobcats had to defeat two Bowdoin boats and Colby in the men’s varsity four.

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“That race right there was kind of like the big show,” Bates coach Peter Steenstra said. “That’s three programs putting their top four guys out on the water together.”

Bates’ primary focus as a program is on eights, so racing fours is a little outside of its comfort zone. Bowdoin, meanwhile, puts a lot of importance on its fours.

The Bobcats held off the Polar Bears’ boats and Colby in what was the closest race of the day. Most of Bates’ wins Sunday were by more than 15 seconds, but in this race the Bobcats beat Bowdoin’s top boat by only 6.06 seconds (7:17.17 to 7:23.23).

Bates led most of the race, but didn’t fully pull away until the final 1,000 meters of the 2,000-meter course.

“I think that it was a really wonderful race,” senior Erik Divan, the bow of the Bobcats’ varsity four and varsity eight boats, said. “From the moment we got off the line, it was a great start, solid body, and a really strong finish.

“It’s about a seven-minute race in a four, so we’re pretty tired now. But they had a really good race, particularly Bowdoin’s 1V … and it was a real treat to tee up against them.”

The Bates men and women finished with 18 points, earning three points from all six cup-point races in which it participated, to claim the 21st annual President’s Cup. Colby was second with 11 points, and Bowdoin had 10.

Because the Androscoggin was too icy — there were still a few floating patches on the river Sunday — the Bates crews only started practicing on the water last week.

The men also made a trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to race MIT — the Bobcats’ first boat lost by only two seconds, their second beat the Engineers by four seconds.

So the President’s Cup was the end of an exhausting week for Bates. But, Steenstra said, the Bobcats “get really excited about racing.”

“Any day on the water right now is a good day,” senior coxswain and women’s captain Abbey Bierman said. “Especially a day like this where it’s sunny and beautiful.

“It’s always exciting to be just be on a course and to do a 2K.”

The rowers who joined coxswain Tessa Liebes in the men’s varsity four — Divan, Mats Terwiesch, Roderick Pratt and Kento Kaijima — also were rowing their second 2,000-meter race Sunday, all having helped the varsity eight win by more than 23 seconds less than 90 minutes earlier.

“I think all of us were really tired on the row up (to the starting line),” Terwiesch, a team captain, said, “but once you kind of get out in the water and you’re lining up, then you kind of forget about it because it’s so fun to be rowing, it’s so fun to have this beautiful water.”

The Bates women’s varsity four — Laura Rand, Lena Rintell, Rosemary Kyne, Molly Pritz and coxswain Kate Traquina — had to race about an hour after participating in Bates’ women’s varsity eight victory.

“It was really fun. We just kind of went out there and were just like, ‘We’re just going to do it,'” Pritz, a captain, said. “I know the other four people in the boat well enough to know we were going to pull hard regardless, there was no worry about kind of settling in and just kind of getting complacent with it.

“So it was just a matter of making it feel as good as possible, and I think we definitely did, it felt really awesome.”

The Bates women’s four won by 22 seconds (8:16.18 to 8:38.26) over Bowdoin. Traquina said it was a big deal that time by the Bobcats was faster than Bates’ novice four, which finished in 8:33.63 and won the second race of the morning.

“We wanted to make sure we beat the freshman four, which is a fast four,” Traquina said. “We did, thankfully.”

The varsity eight beat second-place Colby by 23 seconds (7:35.06 to 7:58.25).

“We’ve been in this lineup for a few days now, in the eight,” Traquina said. “So we’re feeling a little bit more confident and little bit more comfortable. Today was just a good race, we just need a little more water time, and that’s what this race was all about.”

Bates’ second women’s varsity eight took control in the second 500 meters and its time of 7:56.49 beat Colby by more than 38 seconds. Steenstra appreciated that showing because that boat is still gaining experience.

“They’re on a steep learning curve,” he said. “They are eight women who are quite strong, they just need to get used to having a blade and moving together.”

“This whole week has been a week of every day is a little sharper,” Biersma, the second eight’s coxswain, said. “Today was no exception.”

The Bates women’s third eight (8:18.29) finished 21 seconds ahead of Colby. The Bobcats’ second four (9:11.99) finished 39 seconds before Bowdoin.

Bates’ men’s varsity eight has a relatively new lineup of Divan at bow, Terwiesch, Joshua Bilchik, Quinn Gardner, Daniel Sparks, William Lehrer, Pratt, Kaijima at stroke and Ben Whitehead as the coxswain.

That group finished in 6:35.04, more than 15 seconds before Colby’s boat.

“It was fun for us to attack this racing knowing who we are, and that I think proved the way we want to race,” Whitehead said. “It’s really exciting, looking forward, knowing that this is the crew we’re likely going to have.”

The men’s second eight followed up its impressive win over MIT with a time Sunday of 6:49.82, 14 seconds faster than Colby.

Bates’ third men’s eight (7:05.45) edged Colby (6:49.82) by 6.34 seconds. The Bobcats’ men’s novice four (7:40.36) came in nearly nine seconds before Colby.

A Colby boat takes off from the dock as others load and unload at the Bates College training facility on the Androscoggin River in Greene during Sunday’s President’s Cub Regatta between Colby Bates and Bowdoin.

Bates’ varsity 8 pulls ahead of Colby for a victory in one of the races during Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

A Bates varsity 8 boat crosses the finish line during Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

Bates senior Jessica Vocaturo supports the middle part of her boat as the 2V team makes it’s way toward the Androscoggin River in Greene during Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

Chris Kozier,left and Jack Reid, both juniors at Bates College prepare their boat in the newly completed boathouse along the Androscoggin River in Greene prior to the start of Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

A Colby mens team, right heads away from the water after their race as a Bates women’s varsity 8 boat makes their way to the Androscoggin River to race during Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

One of the varsity 8 boats from Bates College pulls ahead of a Colby boat during during Sunday’s 21st annual President’s Cup held at the Bates training facility with their recently completed state of the art boathouse.

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