Men’s heavyweight head coach Harry Parker encouraged his squad to focus on winning the Adams Cup against No. 18 Penn and the Crimson responded, taking victories in the first, second, and third varsity eight races. Harvard also topped No. 16 Navy on Saturday. The win was the 50th in 74 years of the cup for Parker, who hoisted the trophy as a member of the 1955 Penn squad.
There is probably no other team in the country that spends as much time on the water or focuses as much energy on understanding the seas as the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen. But this weekend, the No. 2 Harvard men’s lightweight crew taught the No. 3 Midshipmen a lesson in winning a battle between oarsmen.
After a 10-hour drive to Annapolis, Md., the Crimson claimed four victories out of five contests early Saturday morning.
The Harvard varsity eight continued its undefeated streak, beating Navy by 5.5 seconds in a time of 5:52.2.
“We managed to get up off the start,” captain Martin Eiermann said. “[Navy] made a move around the 500-meter mark, and we knew to be cool and stay calm while they made their move and not let it rattle us. But then afterwards, we knew to push back into them.”
The Crimson had a comfortable lead coming through the 1,000-meter mark with about a length over the Midshipmen. Navy clung to that margin through the second thousand of the course. Harvard stuck to its race plan, though, and outpaced the Midshipmen through to the finish.
The Crimson’s second and third varsity eights also came away with wins over Navy. The second varsity defeated the Midshipmen with a time of 5:59.7 to 6:03.8. The third varsity edged out its opponent in the closest race of the morning. The Crimson finished just 0.4 seconds ahead of Navy in 6:06.9.
The Harvard first freshman eight notched yet another victory in a thus-far undefeated season, clocking a time of 6:14.6 to its opponent’s 6:17.2.
“We came out pretty hard and established a good lead,” freshman James Groeneveld said. “We were pretty comfortable during the middle thousand. Then in the last 500, Navy really came back strong. They never gave up and pulled hard, which they always do. But we came here to win and were happy to do that.”
The second freshman eight was the only boat to fall to the Midshipmen on Saturday. The rookies were behind off the start, and despite trying to battle back through the rest of the race, they were off the pace by a final margin of nine seconds, finishing in 6:33.7.
“The 2F just got beat off the start, but they are a strong crew,” Eiermann said. “The 1V had a very solid race, as did the other boats, but it’s all still part of an adaptation process.”
HEAVYWEIGHTS VS. NO. 16 NAVY/NO. 18 PENN
Though collegiate rowers don’t normally look beyond their next race, they often talk about how they’ll remember the glory days long after they are over. For Harry Parker, head coach of the No. 4 Harvard men’s heavyweight crew, this weekend’s victory against the No. 18 University of Pennsylvania Quakers for the Adams Cup on the Charles River marked 65 glorious years of success.
Parker first won the Adams Cup in 1955 when he was a member of the Penn varsity squad. On Saturday, his fellow oarsmen from the 1955 crew were in Cambridge to celebrate Parker’s 50th victory out of 74 annual contests between the Crimson and the Quakers.
“Earlier in the week, Harry told us that this was one of his most sought-after cups,” said sophomore and varsity three seat Mike Disanto. “[Harry said] he loves to win this cup just as much as he loves to win anything else.”
The Harvard varsity claimed the Adams Cup, defeating Penn as well as the No. 16 US Naval Academy crew that joined Saturday’s competition.