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First regatta is a success for team

Five boats from the University of Richmond club crew team competed in its first regatta of the season last Saturday at the College of William and Mary's inaugural 5-kilometer "Chick Chase" and one Richmond boat placed first.

William and Mary hosted the race on the Chickahominy River which featured Richmond, James Madison University, Old Dominion University and Liberty University.

Low temperatures and high winds made for a difficult day on the water, said Catesby Sanders, club president. The teams were unable to take the water all at the same time so official results and times haven't been determined, but rankings were recorded, he said.

Richmond's five boats placed as follows: The Men's Novice 4+ boat finished first, the Women's Novice 4+ boat finished second at +3:56, two Women's Varsity 4+ boats finished third at +1:22 and fourth at 4:05 and the Men's Varsity 4+ boat finished third at +0:34.

The first team across the finish line placed first, Saunders said. The time then started and the amount of time between the first place finisher and the subsequent boats was recorded, he said.

Saunders said this small regatta had been a great way to open the season. "It was a low-key event with just a few schools so it was a nice and relaxed atmosphere," he said.

The crew team has 39 members, 15 of which are novices. The small number of teams competing helped the 15 novices get comfortable with rowing at the collegiate level, Saunders said.

Freshman Sarah Lee was one of the many newcomers who had never rowed in a regatta before the Chick Chase. "It was a really exciting regatta," she said. "I felt the team really came together and it was a lot of fun."

Lee rowed in the Women's Novice 4+ boat, but said she had enjoyed cheering on the stronger and faster varsity teams.

"It was great to see our teams placing and doing so well," she said. "Seeing the varsity teams was a little intimidating, but I knew all of the novices were in the same boat as I was so I wasn't as nervous."

The Men's Novice 4+ boat technically crossed the finish line second, but ODU's boat was penalized for going out of the course boundaries, giving Richmond first place, Saunders said.

"ODU took its boat into the more still waters while everyone else was in the part of the river that had a tidal current," he said. "It was a pretty questionable maneuver that allowed them to make up a lot of ground by not fighting the current."

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Senior coxswain Hannah Ornell said she had spoken to the William and Mary coach who described Saturday as the windiest day on the water this season. "It felt like we were in the Atlantic Ocean with the waves," she said.

Despite the rough waters the team performed well and the novices did great, she said. Freshman Emily Kerwin rowed in the Women's Novice 4+ race and described heavy boat traffic that added to the choppy waters, she said.

"You get to the point out there where you're dead tired, but you just keep going," Kerwin said.

The team will travel next to Clemson University for "The Tail of the Tiger" regatta on Oct. 15.

Contact reporter Rachael Bilney at rachael.bilney@richmond.edu

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