Crew Does Poor Work.
The University crews took the second time row of the week Saturday afternoon over the three and three-eighths miles course down-stream from the Boylston street bridge to the Union Boat Club. The conditions were rather unfavorable, the water being somewhat rough, and a brisk wind blowing up the first mile or so of the course and across the basin.
The crews were started shortly after 4 o'clock, the second boat being given a handicap of fifteen seconds or about six lengths. Both crews started rowing 30 strokes to the minute, but the second seemed to be much livelier, while the first appeared to be logy and soon dropped the stroke to 28. In less than a quarter of a mile the second had gained a length and before a half mile had been covered, the second crew had increased the distance between the boats by still another half length. The first crew was rowing well together, but without snap. The men did not stand on the stretchers and the boat buried badly at the end of every stroke. In view of this discouraging work, Coach Higginson encouraged the men and called for a spurt. The crew responded by raising the stroke to 32 for about 25 strokes, but as the boats passed Longwood bridge, it was seen that the second crew had more than held their lead of four seconds, besides the fifteen seconds handicap.
As the crews settled down on the straightaway, Mr. Higginson coached the first crew almost continuously. They kept the stroke at 30, but showed little improvement. At Harvard Bridge the relative positions of the two boats were unchanged. From here to the finish the second crew fell to pieces, getting out of time and becoming unsteady. The first crew was thus able to gain seven seconds in the last mile and most of this gain was made in the last quarter, when the greater endurance of the heavier crew began to tell. The time was slow, 19m., 13s. The net gain of the first crew over the second for three and three-eighths miles was two seconds. On Wednesday it was three.
This is very poor work, and the eight men supposed to be the best on the squad have given exhibitions Wednesday and Saturday which are very discouraging. The source of all the trouble seems to be that the men finish the stroke with their arms alone instead of using their legs also. This makes the finish, which should be the strongest part of the stroke, the weakest, causes the boat to settle badly, and prevents running up even a fairly high stroke for any considerable distance.