On Sunday morning, rowers and fans alike trooped out to the Thames River in New London, Conn., by foot, by car and by train to witness the 149th anniversary of America’s oldest intercollegiate athletic event.
Featuring a marathon among crew races, a showdown between ancient rivals and an end to some collegiate rowing careers, the Harvard-Yale regatta promised competition of the highest level.
And, indeed, it proved to be a regatta of the highest sort—for Harvard anyway.
In grand fashion, the Harvard heavyweight crew finished its season with a sweep over Yale in the 136th racing of the Harvard-Yale regatta.
In all three of the races, Harvard dominated completely, taking control of the races with shockingly large leads.
The Harvard varsity boat (6-1) raced the four-mile upstream course in the sixth- fastest time in the history of the regatta and the fourth-fastest time upstream.
Senior coxswain Jon Cahill, aware of Yale’s (4-3) penchant for early leads, got the Crimson off to a fast start, with an early eight-seat lead.
Harvard’s advantage increased to almost two lengths at the half-mile mark, giving the Crimson enough padding to withstand a port-side crab at the three-quarters-mile mark.
Harvard pulled a final sprint into Barlett’s Cove for a time of 18:55.6, about 10 lengths ahead of Yale. The Elis finished with a time of 19:32.7.
“Yale has been a very fast starting crew this year, so we were a little concerned about that,” said Harvard Coach Harry Parker. “What did surprise me is that we were able to shake them as fast as we did. We were anticipating a closer race. I just think they had a bad day.’’
The Crimson now leads the series 83-53, with victories in 15 of the last 17 regattas.
The junior varsity race consisted of a three-mile course over which Harvard maneuvered well to capture another win.
The Elis opened the race with a one-length lead over the Crimson. But Harvard began to move back at the half-mile mark and had powered through the Yale boat by the one-mile mark at Mamacoke Hill.
Harvard had extended its advantage to four lengths by the time the Crimson pulled past the finish line with a time of 14:23.7 over Yale’s 14:37.5.
In the freshman two-mile race, the Crimson (8-1) never gave Yale (5-2) a chance as Harvard propelled to the win with a time of 9:39.38 over the Elis’ 9:56.80.
In the freshman series, raced since 1893, Harvard leads 59-38-1.
With the victory, the freshman boat finishes off its season in the U.S. with an Eastern title and a record blemished solely by an Apr. 14 loss to Brown. The freshman boat will next venture to England to race in the Temple Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta on July 4-8.
“I was a little surprised because they always put together a real strong crew,” said Crimson captain Jason Craw. “That’s a really strong crew of competitors. It just wasn’t their day.”
—Material from the Associated Press was used in the reporting of this article.