It was, as crew Coach Harry Parker it, "bordering on the unbelievable." Parker's heavyweight eight went down to Princeton Saturday and M.I.T. and the Tigers by more seven lengths. In the process, they 20.8 seconds off the existing Princeton record for the 1 3/4 mile distance. It was the second record in two weeks (and two races) that the Crimson heavies have not only broken, but thoroughly obliterated.
According to Parker, the eight--seven are back from last year's boat, the best collegiate crew in the nation--is rowing better than it ever has. And they should have no problem in adjusting to the shorter 2000 meter distance for the all important Eastern Sprints in two weeks.
"Essentially what they've been doing is rowing at a 2000 meter pace over the mile 1 3/4 course," Parker said last night.
Not to be outclassed by the heavy-weights, the varsity lightweight crew also put on quite a show Saturday by smashing Navy. Nearly seven lengths and more than 25 seconds separated the lightweight boat from the Middies in a race at Annapolis.
The race clearly established the undefeated lightweights, in addition to the heavyweights, as an important contender for the Sprint championship. For both boats, the major threat will apparently come from Cornell, which perennially has powerful crews, and this year boasts undefeated heavyweight and lightweight crews.
Break '58 Record
In the heavyweight race, Harvard took advantage of a stiff tall wind as only an expert crew can. Parker explained last night that under such conditions, choppy waters and the very speed of the boat make it essential that a crew be able to get its cars in and out of the water swiftly and smoothly. A crew that cannot loses its momentum. But the Harvard crew rowed with precision, and finished in an incredible 8:15. The old record of 8:35.8 had stood since 1958.
Victorious at Princeton
In fact, Saturday was nearly a perfect day for Harvard's carsmen. Down at Princeton, the JV heavies and the freshmen heavies also easily defeated M.I.T. and the Tigers. The JV's finished in 8:42.4 (actually .2 seconds better than M.I.T.'s varsity time of 8:42.6), with M.I.T. almost 14 seconds behind. The Yardlings rowed the course in 8:54.6; Princeton was second, M.I.T. third.
And at Annapolis, the JV lights defeated Navy by five lengths in a time of 7:25.3, almost 20 seconds better than the Middies' varsity time. The Yardling lightweight crew won in 7:14.4, but the absence of a strong headwind, which slowed both the varsity and JV boats, apparently accounted for the low time.