Crimson Crews Tune Up For Season's Openers
New Coach Must Convert Strong 150's Into Smooth Unit Before Difficult Opener
For the third time since Bert Haines retired in 1952 there is a new varsity 150-pound-crew coach at Newell Boat House.
The new coach, second year Law School Student Derrick, Wilde '54, is matched by an untried squad; only two veterans of the 1954 season will be in the first boat against MIT next Saturday.
Wilde has had no previous experience but has been a jack-of-all trades as as oarsmen. In his sophomore year he rowed on the next-to-last of Haines' thirty-one crews and also won the University 150-1b. single sculls championship. Switching to Weld Boat House in 1952, Wilde concentrated solely on single sculling and monopolized the University championships for the following two years.
The problems facing any new coach are multiplied in Wilde's case. He has to begin his first season against MIT, a crew that has four holdovers from a squad which best the varsity two out of three times last years. As Wilde admits, the Crimson will need polished rowing to match its power it it's going to win.
A smattering of junior varsity oarsmen combine with two veterans and a pair of sophomores from 1954's undefeated Yardlings to fill the boat Wilde hopes will stop Tech this Saturday. But in spite of the varsity's rag-taggle composition and Tech's veterans, stroke Larry Cabot has led the Crimson through creditable and improving time trials. Though only a sophomore, Cabot is a skilled oarsmen and can hold a high stroke with clock-like precision.
There is no doubting the varsity's power, particularly from Captain Bill Coughlin at four through Bob Volpe at seven. Coughlin and Volpe are Wilde's veterans, and Volpe has done a remarkable job at picking up Cabot's timing and transferring it to the rest of the boat.
Behind Volpe, at six and five in the "engine room," are Bruce Dixon and Dick Weatherhead, two of the strongest and heaviest men on the squad. But Dickson didn't start rowing till last season, while Weatherhead is a convert from Harvey Love's heavies. Wilde also has another newcomer in Jack Henshaw at two.
"Tech is Tough"
To balance the greener men on the boat Wilde is counting on two of his lighter oars, Dick Timpson and Barry Bingham. Neither has rowed on a varsity boat before, but Timpson, who will start at three, competed for Eton and rowed with Cabot as a freshman last spring. Bingham, like Wilde, is one of the University's best single scullars and raced against Olympic champion Johnny Kelley in a double at the American Henley Regatta in Philadelphia last spring.
The varsity will continue working on its form and spend this week tuning up sprints and starts. "Tech is tough, but don't sell us short," counsels Wilde. And Tech will need more than its reputation as 1954 Eastern Champion if the varsity can find rowing's venerated intangible: matching swings with a first rate stroke. It has the stroke.