Yale should have seen it coming. After all, 2001 is an odd-numbered year.
But after defeating Harvard’s lightweight varsity eight by four seconds in the Goldthwait Cup and winning the Eastern title, it’s understandable that the Elis might have expected further victory at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s National Championship. Understandable, but unsupported.
In a tight race on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. on Saturday, Harvard won the crown, its sixth title since 1991, with all of its titles occurring in odd-numbered years.
In the trial heats on Saturday morning, Harvard took third place in its heat with a time of 5:57.76, winning the last spot in the Grand Final. Dartmouth’s 5:56.89 took first place and Navy posted a time of 5:57.59 to edge the Crimson out of second place.
In the Grand Final that afternoon, Yale had a strong start that gave the Elis the advantage for the first part of the race, but the Crimson recovered distance well after the frenzied start.
“We didn’t have a great start,” said junior coxswain Joe Finelli. “We were pretty strong at 800 yards. We were up by eight or nine seats 1200 [meters] down.”
The Crimson benefited from having the lead through most of the race.
“It’s a lot easier rowing out in front,” Finelli said. “It’s a great psychological edge. It’s really hard to row through another boat.”