This past Saturday, three teams from the newly expanded Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference raced on Lake Beresford in DeLand. Stetson, the newest team to enter the MAAC, was very happy to host Drake and Jacksonville in the morning of racing.
The event began with the Varsity fours racing well for the Hatters. The Varsity 4-A crew won their race finishing ahead of both Jacksonville and Drake by 40 seconds. In the Varsity 4-B race the Hatters entered two boats against JU and was pleased to finish first and second.
"Our small boats really jumped out and did a nice job racing well, especially since we have not been rowing the fours very much this spring," Stetson head coach Mark Wilson said.
The next events were the Varsity 8's and in the first race (V8-II), the larger team from JU did a great job leading away from the other two boats, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Drake and just over a minute ahead of Stetson.
In the V8 I event, Stetson raced in a strong second place behind JU and ahead of Drake for 3/4 of the race, but the Bulldogs pushed hard in the final 500m and finished ahead of the Hatters by a mere two seconds.
"The earlier races that the ladies raced in the fours caused a toll, and it showed in the final minute of the race," Wilson said. "I was really pleased with the effort but the outcome just was not what we wanted today, I have to give great credit to the Drake team led by long time Coach Charlie Disilvestro. They rowed a tough race."
The Hatters will have this coming weekend off from competition but will travel to Sarasota April 4-5 for the FIRA state championships and a chance to improve over last years results.
Note: While out on Lake Beresford about 5pm on Friday the team and coaches were doing normal warm ups and getting aquainted to the lake and course when a small float plane began flying very low and suddenly crashed into the water within a few feet of the rowers. Coach Disilvestro was the first boat to the scene and was able to rescue the pilot and bring him safely to shore. Coach called 911 and made sure the man was ok and was safe with members of the local yacht club before continuing his practice. Upon returning to the dock coach exclaimed that had never happened before but just another day of being a rowing coach. Well done Coach Disilvestro!