Florida Tech, represented by its men’s varsity eight, beat Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club by 1 ¼ boat lengths in the opening round of the Temple Challenge Cup Wednesday morning on River Thames.
In their first appearance at the Henley Royal Regatta in 15 years, the Panthers won at a time of 6:40. They will now race Yale University’s lightweight varsity eight in round two Thursday at a time to be announced. The Bulldogs of Yale beat St. Hild & St. Bede College (England) by 1 ¼ lengths at a pace of 6:42.
“The guys came to race this morning,” Tech head coach Jim Granger said. “Now that we got our first race out of the way, we’ll be able to approach tomorrow’s race a little more relaxed. We had a good start to the race. We were able to establish a good lead at the halfway point. We picked it up, strengthened our rhythm and really found our margin heading to the finish line.”
Tech led the entire distance, all 2,112 meters, against Cambridge. Guiding the team to a winning finish was coxswain Casey Dalal, bow Alec Bertossa, Troy Toggweiler, Frank Campione, Plamen Ivanov, Mindaugas Beliauskas, David Crooke, Spencer Freeman and stroke Jonas Karalius.
“I expected the guys to be nervous this morning with it being their first international race as a team,” Granger added. “We woke up, had breakfast and went to the course, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to think. At the same time, they were excited about the race. With the first race out of the way, they’ll know what to expect tomorrow.”
Yale, one of six American teams racing for the Temple Challenge Cup, earned its trip to the regatta by winning the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Lightweight Championship by 0.022 seconds over Harvard on June 19. Thursday’s match-up between the Panthers and Bulldogs will mark the first of the season. The winner will face either Durham University “B” or Harvard University in the quarterfinals round Friday. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday and finals Sunday. Regatta Radio is providing a live audio feed for all events.