Harvard’s heavyweight and lightweight crew teams opened their seasons this weekend, and both teams turned in strong performances. Racing in San Diego, the heavyweight team captured two top-three finishes, while the lightweight team was able to hold off ranked opponents Cornell, Penn, Georgetown, and Columbia in D.C. to begin the season 4-0.
In their first races of the spring season, the heavyweight team turned in a third-place finish at the San Diego Crew Classic.
Competing in the prestigious Copley Cup, the varsity eight clocked in at a time of 5:53.95, which was narrowly behind first-place California (5:51.8) and second-place Washington (5:52.61). Stanford finished fourth in the race.
The second varsity eight competed in the Sharp Cabrillo Cup, which the squad had won last year. The Crimson, however, finished third, with Cal, Washington and Stanford finishing first, second, and fourth, respectively, to mirror the top-four of the Copley Cup.
“We were very aggressive today,” sophomore Chris Kingston said. “Considering that it is early in the season, we were delighted with our form.”
“It was an early test for us,” captain Teddy Schreck added. “It was a good opportunity to see the crews we’ll be competing against later on for the national championship...We had encouraging results, and it is nice to show this speed early on in the season.
Senior Simon Gawlik added that there were “perfect conditions,” with good tail winds, and expressed how excited the team was to be able to compete in San Diego.
“We are very thankful we get to go here,” Gawlik said of San Diego. “Of course it would not be possible without our generous donors and organizers. It’s awesome to be here and nice to have a little break from Cambridge.”
The team’s next race is April 11, when it hosts Brown in the Stein Cup.
The fifth-ranked lightweight crew team began its dual racing season Saturday by finishing 4-0. Against fourth-ranked Cornell and ninth-ranked Penn, Harvard won two of five races. The Crimson swept both sixth-ranked Georgetown and seventh-ranked Columbia.
In the first race of the day, against Cornell and Penn, extreme winds on the Schuylkill River forced the race to change from the dual racing format to a single-file 2,000-meter time trial that was run upriver.
“The conditions were pretty rough,” junior Martin Eiermann said. “But every single boat handled it well.”
The varsity eight won its race with a time of 6:22.2. Cornell, the two-time defending champions, finished second (6:31.3), followed by Penn in third (6:39).
The second and third varsity eights both finished second, behind Cornell, in their races. The first freshman eight won its race, while the second freshman eight placed second, also behind Cornell.
“It was nice to see the freshman do very well,” Eiermann said. “They had a very solid performance.”
In the second race of the day, against Georgetown and Columbia, Harvard’s varsity eight finished in first-place, with a time of 6:14.5, ahead of second-place Georgetown by more than four seconds. Columbia finished the race in third-place, but was 25 seconds off the Crimson’s winning time.
For Harvard’s second varsity eight, the race results were nearly identical to the first team’s. The Crimson won the race in 6:10.2, which was, once again, four seconds better than Georgetown and 25 seconds better than Columbia.
Overall, the squad was pleased with its first running of the season. “It was good to kick the season off on the right foot,” senior Stephen Barchick said.
“We were really solid,” Eiermann added. “We did a lot of work over spring break—we all stayed in Cambridge—and you could really see that paying off.”
The next race for Harvard’s lightweight team is April 11, when the Crimson hosts Dartmouth and M.I.T. in the Biglin Cup.