---- — The spring rowing season opened this Saturday for local rowing clubs as crews from Essex Rowing Club, Inc. of Methuen, Phillips Academy and Greater Lawrence Rowing lined up to race 1,500 meters on the Merrimack River in Methuen.
The wind and rolling waves made for a difficult day or racing.
The first race of the day was the Girls 1st Varsity Eight, competing over a shortened, 1,000-meter course after the first 500 meters were deemed unsafe. Essex started to break away a bit after the 300-meter mark and held on for the victory in 3:33.96.
Phillips trailed by a little over a boat length with a time of 3:37.95 and Greater Lawrence was two boat lengths back at 3:48.19.
Leading the way for Essex was coxswain Max Baron of Andover and rowers Janice Hagerman of Boxford, Stephanie Giovenelli of North Andover, Shannon Block of Boxford, Kate Cebry, Molly Eberth of Andover, Lily Bettencourt of Topsfield, Sophie Ohrn of Boxford and Charlotte Bleiler of Boxford.
Phillips dominated the rest of the day with wins in the Girls 2nd and 3rd Varsity Eights and a clean sweep of the Men’s 1st through 4th Eights. Essex took second in the Men’s 1st, 2nd, and 4th Eights with Greater Lawrence trailing the pack in the 1st and 2nd Eights. In the Girls 2nd Eights, Greater Lawrence edged Essex for second place with a strong finish after trading positions multiple times.
Crews from Essex will have one week off before and informal scrimmage with the Brooks School boys Friday and a full morning of racing for both boys and girls against Brookline High on Sunday in Methuen.