Stanford's quad waited patiently for two days for its opportunity to race and then made the most of it by winning the title at the Women's Henley Regatta on Sunday in England.
"I was most impressed with how composed and focused they were, considering how close the race was and the amount of wind on the course," said head coach Yasmin Farooq. "They really kept their cool and kept fighting one stroke at a time. It's a victory they can all be very proud of, not to mention a memory of a lifetime!"
The quad, featuring three seniors, Alix Chrumka, Amanda Lorei and Nancy Miles, along with junior Hope Sheils, sat idly by as teammates raced on both Friday and Saturday at the Henley Women's Regatta. On Sunday it was their time and they were ready to go.
The semifinals had the Cardinal paired up with Brown, a fellow NCAA school the varsity eight had knocked off on Saturday. Stanford took an early three-seat lead off the start and took another seat by the 750 mark. Despite a strong sprint by Brown, the Cardinal made it two-for-two against the Bears as the quad took care of business by a half a boat length to win with a time of 5:15.
The win set up a match for the Cardinal with the local club Leander, who did not have to race early in the day as they had a bye through to the final. Now, Stanford, who had to sit and watch for two days, would have to race twice in one day.
The finals contest between the Cardinal and Leander was an exciting one to watch for fans. It was a back-and-forth race with the two crews staying even throughout. The two clubs were level off the blocks before Stanford made the first move to go up two seats. The lead didn't last long as Leander evened things up.
The race was neck-and-neck until the 600-meter mark when the Cardinal started walking and taking seats on Leander. The charge came with a response as Leander upped the stroke rate and took two seats back, however the lead was too much for Stanford, who ended up winning by the deck of its bow. The Cardinal shaved time off from the semifinals for a winning time of 5:09.
"Having sculled only two weeks together we went into the race with a growth mindset, wanting to improve not only between races, but also during the race," said senior Nancy Miles. "Both races were quite close, but we did a great job staying internal and calm. Yaz told us that we should have 'icewater in our veins but fire in our legs'."
Stanford was the only American team to win a title at the Henley Women's Regatta.
The eight also raced on Sunday, falling to the top seed and eventual champion Oxford by two-thirds boat length. Stanford raced extremely well, giving Oxford its closest race of the weekend, but the home country team was too strong, posting a winning time of 4:46.
The Cardinal got off to a great start and held an early two-seat lead. That lead extended to a half a boat length as the two crews approached the midway point. However, stroked by two-time USA Olympic gold medalist Caryn Davies, Oxford drew level by the 1,000 mark and were able to pull ahead for the victory in the final 500 meters.
"It was incredibly exciting to race against a team like Oxford," said junior Ellie Parker. "They were awesome competition and it was great to make it to the semis and get another race under our belt. We are looking forward to the Royal Regatta and are psyched to get another chance to go down the course in the time trial on Friday."
It was a successful weekend for the Cardinal as all three boats tallied at least one victory. This next week they will go through time trials for a spot in the Henley Royal Regatta July 1-5.