During the 2009 spring season, one of the most compelling stories about Harvard men’s lightweight crew was the dominance of its freshman boat. The Crimson rookies blew by the competition week in and week out.
With the tale of their predecessors’ success in mind, this year’s freshmen seem poised to write a sequel. Yesterday, the lightweight boats took to the water at the Carnegie Chase in Princeton, N.J., and the rookies crossed the finish line in the freshman eight race with a resounding victory.
Harvard finished in 13:58.086, beating second-place Navy by over 16 seconds.
“This is the second year in a row that we won the freshman eight,” lightweight captain Martin Eiermann said. “We knew from practice that they have a very fast boat. It’s a pretty motivated bunch.”
Because last year’s freshmen also won their event at the Carnegie Chase, this year’s boat was granted a favorable start ahead of Princeton. The rookies rowed well throughout the race but really began to put distance between them and their opponents in the third sector.
“We felt really good,” freshman rower Eric Schultzer said. “The class last year was really strong. I think there’s definitely a lot of pressure on us based on the quality of work they did.”
Novice coxswain Alex Sall was especially impressive, directing the freshman eight to victory in his first race with the boat.
“He did a great job,” Schultzer said.
While the freshmen cruised to victory, Harvard’s varsity rowers saw varying degrees of success, with the top boats excelling but finding first place elusive.
In the varsity eight race, the Crimson 1V finished in 13:23.708 but failed to catch up with a speedy Princeton boat that came in at 13:19.685 and had to settle for second.
“We knew that Princeton was going to be very fast after Head of the Charles,” Eiermann said. “We knew that [how Harvard stacked up against the Tigers] would be the benchmark to really measure how we would do.”
The Crimson struggled with the wind early on, but found a rhythm and rowed to a promising, if not ideal, finish.
“Being four seconds behind Princeton is not where we’d like to end up in the spring but for now it was a solid race,” Eiermann said.
The Harvard second varsity eight was not as pleased with its performance. The 2V came in at 14:07.466 to take a 17th-place finish, crossing the line just ahead of the Crimson 3V.