Bowdoin's First Women's Four completed an undefeated season with a gold medal row in the Open Heavyweight Four at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta on May 10. And they won the gold in a squall of biblical proportion, which only added to the epic character of their season.
The Bowdoin Navy entered six crews and advanced five to the semis and four then on to the finals. The Lightweight Men went out in Friday's qualifiers in a very tough heat, but with a very sturdy row. Our Novice Men advanced to the semis, where they rowed their hearts out, but just missed advancing to the finals.
The Novice Women's Four capped a tremendous season with a fourth place finish in a national field. The Second Women's Four rowed its final in building slop and chop to a sixth place finish. It was bad enough that coaches expected the next race, the Women's Open Four to be delayed, but the race went off in spite of the wind driven waves. The weather was in fact bad enough that it delayed the Open Men's Four by roughly three hours; when the men finally took the course the air had settled, and they rowed to a terrific fourth place finish with the best in the country. It had been eleven years since the men had raced in the finals, and they raced it with class and determination.
But it was the Women's Open Four that captured the amazement and hearts of the regatta. Bowdoin led at the bridge in spite of the horrendous conditions, and then the heavens opened and blew down the challenge of the age! By 1000 meters the rain was blasting the boats, driven by winds gusting over 35 knots. The crews could not be seen from the bike path, let alone from the stands, until they suddenly emerged out of a wall of rain with 250 meters to go. The crowd erupted just to see all six crews on the water! Plowing through the troughs of water, Bowdoin finished seven seconds ahead of U Mass and Nova, to claim its second gold in two years in Philadelphia.
Bowdoin had an epic showing at Dad Vail this year: five crews to the semis, four to the finals, and a gold for the women for 6 consecutive years of medals on the Schuylkill.
Both the First and Second Women's Fours will compete at Henley Women's Regatta on 20-22 June. After great success on the national scene, it is time to row abroad!