Harvard's heavyweight crew stroked out to an early lead and coasted home with a two-length victory over Princeton to capture its 34th straight intercollegiate win and seventh consecutive Compton Cup title on Saturday, M.I.T. was a distant third.
In its only home race of the season, the Crimson made it look almost too easy as it finished the 2000 meters in 5:55.2, only three seconds short of the course record Harvard set in last year's Stein Cup regatta.
Showing no respect for the supposedly dangerous Tiger boat, Harvard never even bothered to sprint over the final 200 meters. Princeton closed in 6:02.7 and M.I.T. struggled in at 6:14.5.
Once again Crimson coach Harry Parker elected to use the heavier Pocock shell instead of the varsity's regular Stampfli. An eight-knot tail wind which made the Charles too choppy for the Stampfli was the only factor marring near perfect rowing conditions.
The race was close for the first 500 meters, but after that Harvard wasted no time in putting Princeton in its place. Cox Tom Tiffany sent the boat off the line at a blistering 45 strokes per minute for the first 10 pulls. Princeton started at a 41. and M.I.T. pulled at 39.
The Crimson dropped to 41 for the second ten strokes and grabbed a three-seat lead. Both Harvard and Princeton settled to 37, but by the 500 meter mark, the Crimson had stretched its advantage to three-quarters of a length.
At the Harvard Bridge half-way point, both crews were at 36, but the Crimson was in front by a length and a half. Tiffany called for power 20 and the Tigers were dead as Harvard shot out to a two-length margin.
Princeton went into a 38 stroke sprint, but couldn't close the gap as Harvard loafed home pulling at 36.
Harvard's Compton Cup triumph makes this Saturday's race against Penn the showdown of the season in eastern rowing. It will be a crucial pre-Sprints test for both boats.
Parker thinks that the Crimson can row faster than they did on Saturday. He also indicated that there may be further changes in the starting eight rowers before the crew travels to Philadelphia.
Penn, which won the 2000-meter Black-well Cup race in a record time of 5:26.8 on Saturday, has a strong contingent and seven veterans back from last year's boat. The Crimson edged that boat by four feet in the U.S. Olympic finals to qualify to go to Mexico.
The Crimson lightweights ran their undefeated string of three straight for this season as they trounced Navy for their 12th consecutive Haines Memorial Cup win.
Harvard set a new record for the race at 2000 meters with a 6:01.2 clocking, bettering the previous mark by 14.7 seconds. Navy finished in 6:15.2.
It was a perfect day for the other Harvard crews. The freshman heavies crushed Princeton by four lengths and M.I.T. by five, and the J.V.'s rowed to a near three-boat margin over another tame Tiger boat. Once again, the Techmen finished third.
In Annapolis, the freshmen lights swamped Navy by more than 20 seconds. The J.V. lights finished off their Middies to complete the Harvard sweep.