After an extremely successful season, Western’s women’s crew team placed third in the national championships. The Viking’s Varsity 8 boat posted the fastest time in either V8 heat by 5 seconds in a blistering 6:54.67 run on Friday and immediately advanced to Sunday’s final. Viking team captain Katya Hewitt was in the V8 boat.
“[The race] felt great,” Hewitt said. “It felt like something we were preparing to do for a while, and I think it was executed really well.”
For the 15th time in 16 seasons, Western’s women’s crew competed in the national championships in California over Friday, May 27, through Sunday, May 29.
Schools for both V8 and V4 races consisted of 2-kilometer runs and were separated into two heats each. The winners of each heat advanced to the grand final on Sunday, while the losers competed again for a spot in the final on Saturday.
The V4 boat was up against stiff competition from Central Oklahoma University and lost by over 2 seconds. They faced a challenging Mercyhurst University team on Saturday in order to advance to the finals the following day.
The Viking’s brought their best for the V4’s second race and beat Mercyhurst by 3 seconds.
Senior Alexa Thompson knew what the team had to do in order to move on.
“It was a tough race,” Thompson said. “We knew we had to win to get to the final, so we put our heads down and went to work.”
Both boats raced in the grand final on Sunday morning: both the V8s and V4s fought hard against formidable Barry University and Central Oklahoma with both boats finishing third. Points were added to each team for their finishing places, and Western ended in third place behind Barry in first and Central Oklahoma in second.
Freshman Rachel Dalthorp, coxswain for the V8 boat, felt there was a lot to be proud of in their finish.
“This season has gone really well for us, and although this race didn’t go as well as we had hoped, I think we should still be very proud of it,” Dalthorp said.
The women’s crew team has shown time and time again that they deserve to be seen at the national level. With the offseason beginning, the Viking’s know what they have to do to return to the finals and are hungry for another shot at the national title.
“It’s time for a break, and we’ll get back at it in the fall,” said head coach John Fuchs. “We’ll put together a training program over the summer for each person, and they will all have things to do.”