Rhinebeck Crew cruises to nationals

Rhinebeck crew girls had some very notable achievements in their 2014 campaign, including a trip to nationals.

“The Rhinebeck crew team has made some pretty good strides this year,” Ray Bolton, the president of Rhinebeck Crew, told the Observer. “It’s a team that’s made up of mostly sophomores, and we had a lot of freshmen come on this year. It’s growing year by year. We had …five seniors and they were all girls. They did very well as a unit.”

The girls teams bested some of the mid-season events, taking home multiple medals in both the Hudson River Rowing Association triangular in Poughkeepsie on May 3 and at the O’Neill Race at West Point on May 4.

At Poughkeepsie, two different Girls Novice 4 boats took gold, and the Girls Novice 8, Mixed Novice 8, and Girls Varsity 8 teams took silver. The only team to get a bronze was the Girls Lightweight 4.

At O’Neill, the Hawks won the top spot in the Girls 2nd 8, the Girls 2nd 4, the Girls Varsity 8, and the Girls Lightweight 4; both the Girls and Boys Junior 8 took silver.

At the Eastern New York championships on May 18 at Newburgh, the Womens Lightweight 4 took first place (and how: the Hawks won their heat by 45 seconds), the Womens Varsity 8 took second, and both the Mens Varsity 8 and 4 boats took fifth place.

The New York State championships at Saratoga on May 10 and 11 were a bit of a different story, as Rhinebeck had to compete with dozens of school and club teams from around New York as opposed to local clubs.

But the Hawks did manage a pair of gems: the Girls Novice 4 boat took first place with a net time of 6:50.00, and the Girls Lightweight 4 placed ninth out of 10 teams, with a time of 6:56.233. Both boats qualified for Nationals at Princeton on May 23 and 24, but the Novice 4 boat couldn’t compete, as Nationals does not allow novice boats.

The only other Rhinebeck boats to finish within the top 20 of their heats were the Boys Junior 8, which finished 20th; the Girls Junior 4, which finished 19th; and the Girls Novice 4, which finished 17th.

At Princeton, the lightweight 4 boat missed qualifying for the final heat by one boat and eight seconds.

Bolton said that 2014 was a very strong year for the team, in spite of both stiff competition (Rhinebeck competes against AA schools like FDR and Arlington, because crew teams are regulated differently) and crummy weather.

“We really didn’t get a lot of water time this year because the weather was absolutely atrocious. We had high winds, and we would go to the Poughkeepsie boathouse, which is kind of notorious for choppy water, and we really had limited water time. For the amount of time [the rowers] had out there, they did fabulous,” said Bolton.

According to Bolton, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of rowers competing for Rhinebeck, with a record 38 students on the team this year.

The team–which operates semi-independently of the school, except for the coaching staff, and is sponsored largely by private contributions and a contribution from the district–is now planning to fund and build a boathouse in Rhinecliff, according to Bolton, so that students won’t have to travel to Poughkeepsie to practice.

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