No. 1 women's rowing doesn't sweat multiple delays, wins both heats at NCAA Championships

The Bates boats didn't get on the water until 4pm Friday but the Bobcats didn't let it bother them, winning both the 1V and 2V heats on day one of the NCAA Championships. (Aaron Morse/Bates College)

INDIANAPOLIS -- The No. 1 nationally ranked Bates women's rowing team made it look easy despite multiple delays Friday, winning both its heats on the first day of the NCAA Championships.

The first heat of the day was supposed to take place at 8:15 a.m. But due to debris at the start of the course, the heats got delayed until 4pm. Then the Bates second varsity eight broke a foot stretcher at the start of its heat, prompting another delay.

But after all that, the Bobcats rolled to a pair of victories. Led by sophomore coxswain Elizabeth Folsom (San Mateo, Calif.) and senior captain stroke Lena Rintell (Brookline, Mass.), the Bates first varsity eight pulled away from runner-up Ithaca to win its heat with a time of 6:28.620. For the first 500 meters, the Bobcats and the Bombers were bow ball to bow ball before Bates opened up a three-second lead at the halfway point.

Bates gained another second on Ithaca over the next 500 meters before eventually winning by open water, as the Bombers finished the race in 6:35.334. 

Wesleyan (6:47.283) and Washington College (6:55.256) finished third and fourth in the heat respectively. WPI won the slower 1V heat with a time of 6:39.264. So Bates had the fastest time of the day among the first varsity eight crews.

After the broken foot stretcher caused the second varsity eight to return to the starting line, the Bobcats took care of business on the re-start, winning with ease over runner-up WPI. Led by junior coxswain Maya Seshan (Wilton, Conn.) and junior stroke Grace Murnaghan ( Lexington, Mass.), Bates raced to the finish in 6:48.639, winning wire-to-wire. The Engineers placed second with a time of 7:00.342. Pacific Lutheran (7:08.664) and Washington College (7:12.957) came in third and fourth respectively. 

In the other second varsity eight heat, Wesleyan won a thriller in a time of 6:47.652, edging Hamilton (6:47.777) and Wellesley (6:47.787) respectively. 

The second varsity eight grand final is set for 11:12 a.m. eastern time on Saturday and the first varsity eight grand final is scheduled for 11:36. Bates is looking to win its third straight NCAA title and its fourth in the last five years.

Bates WV8 lineup: Bow: Grace Smith; 2: Emma Wheeler; 3: Grace Bake; 4: Catharine Berry-Toon; 5: Hannah Beams; 6: Sally Harris Porter; 7: Hannah Fitts;  Stroke: Lena Rintell; c: Elizabeth Folsom

Bates W2V8 lineup: Bow: Saylor Strugar; 2: Claudia Glickman; 3: Lillian Kinder; 4: Sophie Claus; 5: Emma York; 6: Elizabeth Fischer; 7: Phoebe Long; Stroke: Grace Murnaghan; c: Maya Seshan 

Alternate: Elizabeth Fairman

Alternate: Carla Guichard

Alternate Cox: Elise Grossfeld