With February nearly over, the crew season of 1921 is in most of the universities of the east well under way in the first stage of work--the winter training; and it is possible to estimate even at this early date the relative possibilities of the various crews which the University will be called upon to face.
At Yale work began on February 14 with just two months in which to prepare for the first race on April 16 against the University of Pennsylvania on the Housatonic River at Derby. Between 150 and 200 men reported, of whom five were "Y" men and two veterans of last year's boat. Until the return of Guy Nickalls on March 1, practice requirements will be very light, the men reporting only three times a week for indoor work, but with the arrival of the head coach Yale hopes to put her crews onto the bay almost immediately for regular practice five times a week. How far this plan will be modified in case of inclement weather has not been announced.
Prospects at New Haven do not seem so bright this year and there is none of the rejoicing which heralded the 1920 crew. Speaking editorially on the day the crew men were called out, the Yale News says, "Praising a crew before a race is one of the surest methods of ruining its chances. This mistake was made last year, and the memory of the eight lengths of open water will preclude a repetition of the error." The Elis realize the mistake of overconfidence which was so disastrous last year and are determined that it shall not be made again. On the other hand it is only fair to admit that there is not as much reason for overconfidence this year. Captain S. Y. Hord at 4, G. E. Ellis at 7 and R. Carson as coxswain are the only veterans of the eight which rowed at New London last spring, while there are only a few men of first-class second string material. Of these, C. S. Payson, who rowed 6 on the 1919 crew, and H. J. Mali, 7 on the second crew for two years, are outstanding, while B. L. Heminway and Ward Cheney are two promising candidates for stroke.
Material Must Be Developed
Viewed from the opposite angle, however, Yale's outlook is not so blue. Good material is sure to be developed from a squad of 200 men by a coach of Nickall's ability; there are men at Yale like G. S. Rockefeller, who because sickness prevented their rowing in the final races last year, are not counted among the veterans, and yet have had the benefit of long coaching and experience, and finally a crew fighting against odds has always the advantage of a crew that is over-confident.
Besides the race against Penn, Yale is scheduled to race twice before the annual classic on the Thames; against Columbia on April 30 and against Cornell and Princeton on May 21, the last one a week before the University meets the crew from Ithaca.
Turning from Yale with its paucity of veteran material to Princeton, we find the direct opposite true. Dr. Spaeth, the Tiegrs' coach, has so many men on hand that he is rowing four of the men, who held down regular positions last year, in the second eight. Of the seven veterans back, Captain Crosswell at stroke, S. H. Milne at 7, and F. L. Page in the bow, are the only men who have retained their positions. J. B. Lewis, Columbia Freshman stroke in 1919, and a transfer at Princeton, has been promoted to 3 in place of Brigham; J. S. Curtis, who has never rowed in the University before, has supplanted J. A. Morgan, who held down a position last year; while J. Sinclaire considered the most powerful man in the 1920 boat, and H. L. Chisholm, a veteran of two years' experience, have been supplanted by R. S. Newlin and M. C. Fleming. Such changes so early in the season are of course tentative, but they indicate the wealth of material which Dr. Spaeth has on hand.
The Orange and Black oarsmen reported for their first regular workout on January 6, and seven crews have, with the exception of a slight rest during the examination period, been at work on the machines ever since. In addition to the projected triangular race against the University and the Navy on May 7, and the race against Yale and Cornell on May 21, Princeton is planning to meet the University of California on Lake Carnegie early in June.
Inasmuch as the ice on the bay broke up by February 8, the Annapolis crew took to the water two weeks ago with only two of the men who rowed on the victorious Olympic eight permanently lost. Of the other six oarsmen those who have not yet reported are either in other sports or laid up with minor injuries.
Regular work has not yet begun at Cornell, but plans are being developed under the leadership of John Hoyle, who as assistant of the late Charles E. Courtney for many years, has now succeeded him as head coach.