But a longer streak in an even more established contest between the two schools was also broken on Saturday, as the Crimson heavyweight crew team lost the varsity race in the 142nd annual Harvard-Yale regatta in New London, CT.
It was a surprising loss for a boat that took gold in Eastern Sprints, a whole two seconds ahead of silver medalist Yale. The loss broke a winning streak of seven years against the Bulldogs for a Crimson team that was otherwise undefeated in dual racing this season.
The Harvard-Yale regatta is somewhat different from most dual races in that the varsity boat rows twice the usual course length—four miles as opposed to two. Harvard was in the lead for most of those four miles on Saturday, until a last-minute push by Yale gave the Bulldogs a half-second victory in the final strokes, 19:57.5 to 19:58.0.
“It was a pretty unfortunate way to end our season in America, and didn’t really reflect the atmosphere of the team this year,” varsity stroke George Kitovitz said. “It’s been such a great season, and we’ve got so many great guys, it just didn’t happen on the day.”
The Harvard eight seemed set for success at the start, though, with an instant lead that they built on and maintained for the majority of the race.
“We got up about four seats, it was a blisteringly fast start,” Kitovitz said. “Then we were about five seconds up with half a mile to go and Yale just had a late surge.”
The second varsity boat was also unlucky, after whittling down an initial Bulldog lead to move into the front with one mile to go. The late run would fall short when the boat was forced to stop briefly after one oarsman caught a crab in the last thousand meters, giving Yale a chance to push past the Crimson for an 18-second victory, 15:27.0 to 15:45.0.
Harvard’s freshman eight had no such bad luck, however, starting the day well and bringing the New London Cup back to Newell with a ten-second, open-water win.
Like the varsity, the freshmen established an early lead that only grew as the race progressed.
“After about 30 strokes we were a length up, and then we just kept the pressure on,” coxswain Joe Lin said. “I thought it was a good way to end the season, a good effort by a lot of guys who like to race together.”
The third varsity boat also raced and won by a ten-second margin.
Although this was the last time many of the team will race this season, the varsity eight and a four will compete at another regatta at the start of July, this time across the pond at England’s Henley Royal Regatta. The rowers will remain in Cambridge until the end of June to practice, looking perhaps to wipe out any recently-created doubts about their success this season.
—Staff writer Alexandra C. Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.