While the closing innings of the Yale game were being played on Holmes, the Harvard crew was engaged in winning the first of the series of aquatic victories which have brought to so fitting a finish the athletic record of the year just closed.
THE COLUMBIA RACE.The Columbia 'Varsity crew of last year was said to be one of unusual power and speed. It was thought that Harvard, if it won at all, would win by but a narrow margin. The event, however, proved this view to be a mistaken one.
At 5.38 p.m., June 20th, the rival crews were started. Harvard took the water first, rowing 41 strokes to the minute to Columbia's 34. In the first hundred yards Harvard opened clear water between the shells, and at the half mile flag Columbia was three lengths to the rear. In going to the mile flag the Harvard stroke dropped to 39, 38, and finally to 34, while Columbia hit up the stroke to 36, 37 and 38. At the mile and a half buoy Harvard was eight lengths to the good, and was rowing in splendid form, while Columbia had begun to show a ragged stroke. At the two mile flag Harvard was timed at 11m. 44s., and Columbia at 12m. 47s. Columbia now spurted desperately, rushing the stroke up to 42, but without avail, for the crimson passed the three mile mark in 18m. 40s., with the crew in good condition and rowing well together, while the blue and white made the same distance in 19m. 53s., with No's. 2 and 7 giving unmistakable signs of distress. At the three and a half mile flag, Harvard hit the stroke up to 38, and passed over the line in 24m. 27s., fully a quarter of a mile in advance of Columbia. The latter crew finished in 26m. 22s.
THE COLUMBIA FRESHMAN RACE.At 11 a.m., June 25th, the Columbia and Harvard freshman crews were started over the two mile course at New London. Columbia got the better of the start, and increased the lead to half a length in the first fifty yards, rowing 38 strokes to Harvard's 40. This state of affairs was of but short duration, however, and before another hundred yards had been covered, the Harvard boat had been sent a length to the fore. The times at the half mile were, Harvard, 2m. 58s.,: Columbia, 3m. 9s. At the mile buoy both crews were bending to their work with a 40 stroke, the crimson leading by four open lengths. Time, Harvard, 6m. 1s.: Culumbia 6m. 22s. Columbia now struck into a 44 stroke, only to reach the mile and a half flag in 9m. 37s., 32s. behind Harvard. The race was now virtually over, as Harvard dropped to 34, and passed the line ten lengths to the good. Time, Harvard, 12m. 22s., Columbia, 13m. 12s.
THE YALE RACE.New London was overrun with college men on the morning of June 26th, the day set for the Yale-Harvard race. Crimson and blue ribbons were to be seen everywhere, and, so far as the ladies were concerned, the blue seemed to predominate. At 10.25 the observation train of 20 open cars left the depot for the starting point, passing on its way the grand stand at Winthrop's Point, already densely packed with spectators. Shortly after 11 the sight of the Harvard shell rowing over from the quarters started a cheer from the wearers of the crimson, which was speedily returned by the New Haven men as the Yale crew rowed quietly down to the line. After a few minutes of preparation, the crews got into line, and at 11.24 the word was given and
THE GREAT RACEhad begun. Both crews caught the water well, though Harvard obtained a slight advantage. For a moment all was still; then, when it was seen that Harvard was going slowly to the front, a roar went up from the spectators on the train that must have been heard at the finish line. Both crews were pulling 40 strokes to the minute, yet at the half-mile stake the Yale men had fallen three lengths to the rear. This distance was covered by Harvard in 2m. 58s.; by Yale in 3m. 12s. Upon entering the second half-mile rough water was met, but the waves were not high enough to seriously incommode the oarsmen. At the mile flag the time was taken at 5m. 52s. for Harvard. Yale passed the flag 20 seconds later, and four lengths behind. The crews were pulling 40 and 42 respectively. At the mile and a half flag Harvard was timed at 36 strokes to the minute, and Yale at 40, yet Yale had fallen still further to the rear, and was now seven lengths astern of her rival. A few minutes later and the two-mile flags were left behind, Harvard making the distance in 12m. 6s.; Yale in 12m. 48s. The race was now half over, and the crimson oars were rising and falling ten good lengths in advance of the Yale boat. Penrose now quickened his stroke and the crew passed the two and a half mile flag in 15m. 31 1-2s.; fifty seconds, and twelve and a half lengths in advance of Yale. The three-mile flag was reached in 18m. 47s., with Yale now exactly 60 seconds in the rear. The race had now degenerated into a procession, and the anxiety attendant upon the first few hundred yards gave way to a most satisfactory confidence in the ultimate result.
At the three and a half mile flag, which Harvard passed in 23m. 6s., the Cambridge boat had a lead of eighteen clear lengths. The whistles of the steamers anchored at the finish now began to add their mite to the general uproar, and soon afterwards the saluting guns from the yachts announced Harvard's grand victory. Harvard came over the line in 25m. 15 1-2s., twenty lengths in advance of Yale, who followed in 26m. 30s.
For a few moments the noise around Winthrop Point was deafening, then the crowd slowly dispersed, and the great race of 1885 was over.
Upon arriving in the town, the happy Harvard men, hoarse from their continued cheering, proceeded to raid the shops in search of crimson cloth and ribbons. Early in the afternoon a processi??? as formed, headed by the band of the Fifth Connecticut Infantry. The members of the victorious crew came first, followed by the members of the 'Varsity nine, and escorted by 300 students, decked with red ribbons, and provided with brooms. After parading the principal streets, and cheering until worn out, the jubilant Cambridge men betook themselves to the cars, and left the town in peace.