The Stanford men's rowing varsity eight advanced to the A/B semifinal on the opening day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships on Mercer Lake on Friday in West Windsor, N.J.
The Cardinal raced its varsity eight and varsity four during Friday's heat. The varsity eight placed third in its heat, but won its repechage to advance to Saturday's A/B semifinals. The varsity four placed fifth in its heat and finished third in its repechage during the afternoon to move on to Saturday's third semifinal.
"I'm happy with today's racing overall," Stanford head men's rowing coach Craig Amerkhanian said. "Today's varsity eight repechage was some of the best racing we have seen from the Stanford men. They handled this race exceptionally, supporting each other with trust and belief in each other. They really laid it on the line. Their rhythm was exceptional. We are now on to the varsity eight semifinals."
In the varsity eight heat race, Stanford raced out of lane five against Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania, George Washington and Temple. Harvard took the early lead, with Princeton in second and the Cardinal in third. Stanford was a couple seats up on Pennsylvania for third at the 500-meter mark. The Cardinal began to take water away from second-place Princeton as the boats approached the 750-meter mark.
The Tigers responded with a move to push their bow ahead and into the lead. Stanford built a half a length advantage over Pennsylvania for third at the midpoint of the course. The Cardinal closed within a half a length of Harvard for second with 750 meters to go. The Crimson (5:49.940) took second over Stanford (5:51.660) by five seats at the finish line, while the Cardinal placed third by five seats over Pennsylvania (5:53.340). Princeton won the race with a time of 5:47.660.
With the top two boats advancing straight to the first and second semifinals, Stanford returned to the water in the afternoon against Wisconsin, Hobart and Florida Institute of Technology in the repechage. The Cardinal opened the race in second place, but quickly made its move to the front. By 500 meters, Stanford was level with Wisconsin for the top spot. The Cardinal continued to surge ahead, building a three-seat lead at the 750-meter mark. Stanford grew its lead to a length over FIT, who moved past Wisconsin for the second position. The Cardinal continued to build its advantage, taking an open-water lead on the field with 500 meters to the finish. Stanford won its repechage in a time of 5:49.860 over second-place FIT (5:58.590) to advance to the A/B semifinals on Saturday at 6:26 a.m. PT.
The varsity four raced against Princeton, Harvard, Washington, Jacksonville and Oklahoma City in its heat race Friday morning. The Cardinal chased leaders Washington and Princeton at the 500-meter mark. Stanford completed the course in 6:50.700, a length back of Pennsylvania (6:46.820) in fifth place. Washington won the heat with a time of 6:25.550.
With only the top boat in each heat advancing straight to the first and second semifinal heats, Stanford returned to the water in the afternoon against Washington College, Brown, Georgetown, Cornell and Fairfield in the repechage. The Cardinal tried to battle through a crowded field of boats, placing third in the repechage with a time of 6:49.160 to move on to Saturday's third semifinals.