It was no dark, on the Charles River last night that Tom Bolles didn't know whom he had rowing on the last eight which pulled away from the Newell float and headed into the downstream gloom.
In order to make sure of whom he was coaching, Bolles had to reach into his pocket to produce a list of boatings, which he read by flashlight before going further with his instructions.
And then, as the eight took a brisk workout down to the Riverside Boat Club, his method of handling an eight became vividly evident. As Bolles turned his interest from one part of the shell to another, he used one part of the shell it another, he used the searchlight with which his coaching launch is equipped to advantage, stopping at one man for a moment, moving on to another, sweeping back to the rudder post to see what "check" the shell was developing, and then back again to the eight be-sweatered sweepswingers.
Earlier in the afternoon Bolles had shuffled his material, producing three class crews which he sent on a three minute sprint to settle the mythical championship of the College. The favored Seniors were stroked by Paul Pennoyer, regular number two man on the Varsity. Bus Curwen, last year's Varsity stroke, paced the Juniors, and Charley Chace set the beat for the Sophomores.
For three minutes these three eights surged down the course, and at the finish their relative positions had not changed a fraction of a millimeter. With all 24 men pulling in unison, Bolles said that a shot could have been fired between the seven and eight men without anyone's being injured. And so the College championship still remains to be settled.
Interested in Men Not Eights
During the fall, Bolles said, almost every man on the squad rows with every other Varsity aspirant, for this is the time when Bolles works on individual corrections, and he makes no attempt to keep together the winning combinations which he builds up in the spring. Therefore the time at which men can row, rather than their respective merits, tends to decide who rows on what eight each day.
The Crimson's successful crew coach wanted it, understood that when he had said that this had been the best fall rowing since he came to Harvard, he had meant that the weather conditions were the best, and not, necessarily, the quality of chairmanship.
Lack, of Seasoned Strokes
His main difficulty at the present time is to find adequate strokes. True, Bus Curwen is back from last year's undefeated Varsity, but Jayvee stroke Colton Wagner, and Jack, Wilson, who stroked the Varsity at Henley and during the spring of 1940, both graduated, and Bris Hall, Bolles other ranking stroke, is now in the army.
The general consensus of opinion was that Carl Seligman's crew would be the one to heat in the forthcoming race. Seligman, who stroked the second Freshman two years ago, proved a canny picker, and assembled a veteran crew which on paper should go well.