2019 AJR Spring Recap

4.6 Steve Neczypor Regatta. I don’t think we could have hoped for a better first regatta. With little exception, exceptional results all around.

Girls’ Squad. The Novice 8+ handily won their Flight and clocked the 3rd fastest time of 14 entries in their event. The JV (junior) 4+ finished 3rd in their Flight, with the 9th fastest time overall of 15 entries. The 2nd Varsity 8+ finished 2nd in their Flight that was led by the formidable PNRA (Princeton National Rowing Association), with a time that would have won the other Flight; the 2nd fastest time overall of 11 entries. The Varsity 8+, facing massive competition that included 6 PNRA entries in the same 1V8+ event, did not show its potential today, not having advanced past the Heats. Not every day can be our best. The race season has only just begun.

Boys’ Squad. The Novice 4+ won its Flight handily and clocked the fastest time of the 9 boats in its event. The next fastest, South Jersey Rowing Club, was over 16 seconds slower on its home course. The JV (junior) 4+ did a heck of a job chasing down PNRA, finishing less than 3 seconds behind them in their Flight and clocking the 6th fastest time of 16 in that event. The Lightweight 4+ won their morning heat handily; however, their time was 12″ slower than Mountain Lakes, 10″ slower than PNRA, and a mere .2″ faster than MBC from the other Heat. Odds were thus decent for a battle for a Bronze medal in the afternoon Final. Our Ltwt4+ showed the danger of playing the odds when looking at heat times. In the Final, they took a powerful 1st place, finishing 3” ahead of Mountain Lakes, 4” ahead of PNRA and 9” ahead of MBC, quite adifference from heat results.  A medal may have been predictable, but Gold exceeded expectations. Later in the afternoon, that same 4+ integrated with four more of our lightweight oarsmen to race the Lightweight 8+ event. Facing a Mountain Lakes crew that seemingly doesn’t own a scale, our Ltwt8+ chased them down the course finishing little more than 3 seconds behind, earning a Silver medal. The 2nd Varsity 8+ finished a close .9 seconds behind Haddonfield in their Flight, clocking the 3rd fastest time of 13 entries, PNRA being the fastest. The Varsity 8+ handily won its Heat with the 3rd fastest heat time overall, and repeated that solid performance in the Final, earning a Bronze medal. I hope today has inspired everyone to work hard this Spring Season. If so, greater days are ahead. (Coach Davis Recap)

See our FB Page for Pictures from George Foster!

4.29 Cooper Cup. What a great weekend for AJR. As was revealed the prior weekend at Mercer, we are getting faster!

I will let Coach Edward delve into the details of the girls’ solid performance but want to touch on it a bit. Despite some equipment mishaps, the novice 8+ raced well over a rather long course for novice (a full 2,000 meters) with the 7th fastest time of 15 entries. The 2V8+ raced in the 1V8+ event and fared rather well, all things considered, and came close to qualifying for the 6-boat Finals. Their Heats time was 7th fastest overall of 11 entries. The JV4+ also raced well in their Flight and clocked the 11th fastest time of 18 entries. The stars of the day were the Ltwt4+ which were only beaten by one team, powerhouse Merion Mercy Academy, in the Heats and Finals, thus taking a well-earned Silver medal. Nine other crews were not even close to our girls.

Everyone on the boys’ squad also raced admirably, including our Ltwt4+ despite not medaling. They held tough for the full distance, never giving up by allowing themselves to fall far behind, which can easily happen in a lineup that had absolutely no practice time together.  Every rower in that boat had at some point this season raced successfully in the Ltwt8+ or 2V8+. So there is no doubt training time in the boat together would have brought about a different result, which was not possible due to prolonged absences.  Two of the four rowers had missed at least a week of practice in the past two weeks and the coxswain had to fill in rowing in at least one practice.  When they launched for the race, it was the first time the full lineup was together. Yet they still raced well.

Our 1V8+ advanced from the Heat with ease to face off in the Finals against Mountain Lakes, a nemesis for all our boats. Three weeks earlier on this same course in the Neczypor Regatta Finals, we finished 10.6 seconds behind Mountain Lakes. Yesterday it was a neck-and-neck battle the entire length of the course, with Mountain Lakes prevailing by a mere 0.7 seconds. Our boys took home very memorable Silver medals.

Much to Mountain Lakes’ surprise, in the past three weeks our 1V8+ gained 10 seconds. This advancement was across the board.

Our Lightweight 8+ had lost to Mountain Lakes, a team still in need of a scale, by 3.3 seconds three weeks ago. Yesterday our boys proved good rowing and grit can win the day, beating Mountain Lakes for the Gold by 5.2 seconds.

Although they did not finish ahead of Mountain Lakes, our Novice 8+ did win their Flight and clocked the 3rd fastest novice time (of 10 crews) of the day, deservingly taking home a medal, the first of many to come for those boys new to racing.

Out last and exceptionally thrilling race of the day was the 2V8+. The thrill was not due to the nerve-racking uncertainty of the outcome as with the 1V8+, but rather in witnessing their total dominance over the field. They not only won their Flight with the fastest time of the 11 crews racing, they were a full 14 seconds faster than the winner of the other Flight, Moorestown. Three weeks ago we were only 4 seconds faster than Moorestown. As with our other boats, this crew has gained nearly a full second of speed with every practice on the water.

After so phenomenal a regatta result, I am hopeful more than even after Mercer Sprints, that every member of this team has come to appreciate the benefit of hard work put forth at every practice and, consequently, will do all he/she can to not miss another the remainder of the season, especially with the Mid-Atlantic Championships less than 2 weeks away.   (from Coach Davis)

5.12 Mid-Atlantic Championships Report: What a weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Championships for AJR, especially for our varsity! We could lament the unfortunate cancellation of today’s finals, but instead I think we should celebrate what we accomplished.

Our novice did not have ideal performances, but this is a championship regatta after all. There were 18 entries, 2 of which were AJR boats, in three heats of girls’ novice 4+s. Neither of ours advanced to Sunday finals. However, our 1N4+ finished with the 6th fastest time and actually would have advanced had we the good fortune of having drawn Heat 1 in which there was only one faster time than ours. Our 2N4+ finished 16th of 18. Similarly, our boys’ 1N4+ had the 6th fastest time (of 16) yet did not advance to finals, as we might have had we drawn Heat 1. Our 2N4+ finished 14th of the 16 entries. Our N8+ was 4th in their heat but overall their time was 9th of 13 entries.  Hopefully there was a lesson learned; that consistent attendance is the first step to dedication to improvement, which is the key ingredient to success, in crew or anything in life. But I want to be clear – we did respectably for so important and competitive a regatta. But know we can do better and how to do so.

Almost our entire varsity squad advanced from Time Trials and Heats. All but one boat would have raced the finals today and quite possibly a few may even have taken home medals but for the weather cancellation.

Our girls’ V4+ finished 14th of 28 entries thereby advancing to semi-finals. They did not fare well as they would have liked in the semis, though they did move up the ranks, clocking the 12th fastest semi-final time. It was a commendable performance for a lineup that had so few practices together as a full crew. Our girls’ 2V4+ time was 19th of 21 entries in their heats. Our Ltwt4+ was 4th in their time trial so advanced to finals. With racing cancelled today we can never know whether they would have qualified for YouthNationals. Top 3 finishers in the finals were to have been invited, so U.S. Rowing has decided to extend that invitation to the top 3 time trial finishers. We were 9.3 seconds behind the 3rd place finisher, which could possibly have been made up in side-by-side racing, which obviously has no bearing on U.S. Rowing’s determination for bids. Our girls’ V8+ was also destined to race in today’s finals. There were only 7 entries, nonetheless time trials were run yesterday. We were 7th in time but less than 3 seconds (not even a length) behind 6th place Lawrenceville. So it would have been exciting to watch that final and see the results of side-by-side racing as they were even more likely to move up the ranking than the Ltwt4+.

Since AJR typically prioritizes 8+s, I did so with the boys’ squad. So the only boys’ varsity 4+ entered was the lightweight. Our Ltwt4+ outdid themselves yesterday, finishing 6th in the time trials, advancing to finals. Giving it their all was clearly their priority. I could not be more pleased with a crew’s performance. Our V8+ also advanced to finals with the 7th fastest time in their event, 9.6 seconds behind 3rd fastest Wilson High School. In our scrimmage a few weeks ago we beat Coach Ken’s alma mater and could very well have done so today, when racing side-by-side, potentially earning that third invitation to Youth Nationals. Sadly, we will never know. Our 2V8+ had a great result in their heat despite feeling they did not race anywhere near their best. When your row did not feel good yet you clocked the 4thfastest heat time, you are most certainly poised for a medal winning final.  Theirs very well would have been the most exciting race of the day today. In my gut I know they would have taken home that Bronze medal. Last and certainly not least is our Ltwt8+ who were 2nd fastest in their time trial, just 2.6 seconds behind Gonzaga and over 11 seconds faster than the 4th place finisher, thus unquestionably destined for Youth Nationals.  Still, it would have been a thrill to watch them race and chase Gonzaga for the Gold. We will have to content ourselves with their Silver medals that U.S. Rowing will be mailing me this week.