After an undefeated regular season and open water wins at New England’s and Dad Vail,
Bowdoin’s top four advanced to the quarter finals of Henley Women’s Regatta. In the single
elimination knockout format, or “side by side,” Bowdoin found itself in the harder bracket and drew Yale for the quarter final. Yale’s four was second in the Ivy League Championship and raced a close race with Oxford Brookes University on Saturday to advance to the “elite eight.” Bowdoin jumped out to the lead with a perfect start, but Yale drew even and the two crews raced level through the body of the race. As they approached the line, Yale was slightly ahead, but Bowdoin began its final push and started to surge on the Eli. Sadly, a missed stroke caused a crab and stopped the boat dead in the water just as we were moving up, and Yale was able to pull away to win.
It was a great race! Two evenly matched crews dueling up the course would not yield a stroke to the other. The Yale women were gracious and complimentary as they greeted our crew, and our women knew they had raced with a top flight competitor. It was the fastest heat of the round, and we were right in it to the end. So close!
While the dream of winning at Henley was lost, we had the victory in the Elite Four against prestigious Thames Rowing Club and Boston’s premier Riverside Boat Club at Reading Amateur to give us the elusive win on the Thames to add to gold on the Charles and the Schuylkill. Riverside advanced to the final at HWR from the other bracket only to lose to University of East London, who defeated Yale in the semi-final in another blazing fast round.
Our top boat rowed with grace and determination in every outing. Senior Capt. Katie Ross leaves a legacy of willfulness and intentionality that will serve her boat mates Emily Martin ’15, Courtney Payne ’15, Capt.Elect Mary Bryan Barksdale ’15, and coxswain Sophie Berube ’16 in campaigns next season. Katie’s contribution to rowing at Bowdoin cannot be measured. Our Second Boat, stroked by Nora Hefner ’15 and with Maddy Livingston ’16 at the helm, was powered by Erica Hummel ’15, Amy Spens ’15, and Audrey DeFusco ’16 in the body of the boat. They earned the respect of the regatta in their best row of the season for their “tenacity, grit, and no nonsense racing” in spite of an opening day loss to Henley Rowing Club. Our spare, Liza Tarbell ’17, captured and inspired the hearts of her team mates with her irrepressible humor and energy and gutsy performance in the single at Reading.
Our trip to the Mother River draws to a close with the whole squad grateful for the support from home. Hearing from parents, alumni, and friends in the college and town has meant the world to the team. Thank you all! We return to the New Meadows more seasoned as athletes and people. We have raced, and won, and lost in the highest level available to us, on a river of historic racing and beauty. We have been a part of the pageant of international competition, and with Kipling have met with “Triumph and Disaster” and are learning to “treat those two imposters just the same.” Above all we have learned to respect, trust, and even love one another through the gift of racing boats. Thank you all for helping make it possible.