Despite rocky starts and early fatigue, Andover Girls Crew pulled out a stellar early season victory on Saturday against a competitive Essex Rowing Club. Ideal conditions and flat water boded well for all four Andover boats competing in the cross river friendly, as each boat managed to hold off Essex in close races.

Andover’s first boat lined up on Essex’s 1500 meter course to start off the day. After only a few short weeks of practice, pre- race nerves were evident as Andover began slowly, lacking rhythm and balance. “The start of the race was tough. We were even with Essex for a good 500 meters,” said stroke seat Morgan Askew ’11.

Reaching the middle 500 meters, Andover caught its stride to walk on and surpass Essex, eventually securing an almost boat- length victory with a promising time of 4:37.5.

“Although it was definitely not our smoothest race, considering we pulled 2k [tests] earlier that morning and had last minute injuries which cause a new lineup, it was a solid effort,” said Natalee Sohn ’11.

Andover’s second boat soon followed suit, edging out Essex. After being locked with the other crew for the first half of the course, Andover moved up to a half boat length lead and finished with a fast time of 4:52.6.

After a week of hard work, Andover Girls Crew will take on a perennially tough Kent School squad in their first official race of the season on Saturday.