Saturday proved to be a long but successful day of racing and traveling for the Harvard men’s heavyweight and lightweight crews.
The heavyweights challenged Navy and Penn in Annapolis, Md., taking four out of five races to capture the Adams Cup.
The No. 1 lightweights also competed in Annapolis for the Haines Cup, alternating races with their heavyweight counterparts. After a successful showing against Navy, the Crimson traveled to Princeton to face Georgetown and swept the four races of the afternoon.
HEAVYWEIGHTS vs. NAVY, PENN
The Harvard heavyweight first varsity eight defeated Navy by a narrow margin to take its thirteenth straight Adams Cup title. The Crimson finished in 5:59.3, edging out the Midshipmen by 1.9 seconds. Penn finished third with a time of 6:11.9.
“It was always going to be pretty tough,” said junior Josh Hicks, three seat of the first varsity boat. “We had an eight hour bus ride which turned into a 10 hour bus ride on the way there. For Navy, it was their coach’s last home dual race, and Penn is always pretty stubborn as well.”
Harvard began the race with a strong start, but Navy stayed with the Crimson boat throughout the first 500.
“Our starts have been improving over this season, and we have been pretty proud of that,” Hicks said. “We got out in front and thought that hopefully we would be able to break open water pretty early, but Navy kept us honest and finished with overlap.”
By the 1000-meter mark, Harvard was leading Navy by about half a boat length. The Crimson tried to stretch its lead in the remaining meters of the race.
“Going into the third 500 is where we really tried to play our strengths,” Hicks said. “We are smaller guys, so we tried to play our fitness a bit more. We were able to push it out to about a length or so lead coming through the 1500. And then, credit to them, [Navy] didn’t go away; they stuck at it, and bumped the rate up. We were fighting pretty hard towards the end.”
The second varsity eight also had a tight race, finishing in 6:05.76 with about a one second advantage over Navy. The third varsity and first freshman boats both beat the Midshipmen by a considerable margin, with the Quakers trailing in third. The second freshman eight dropped the only race of the morning, clocking in about 10 seconds behind Navy.
“It was interesting rowing in such open conditions in Annapolis,” Hicks said. “It was more of a river mouth that empties into a bay than a small, confined river. These are conditions that we don’t face too often on the Charles.”
But the Crimson seemed able to adjust to the Annapolis race course.
The challenging conditions allowed Harvard to gain practice for their most important upcoming away races of the season: Sprints and National Championships.
LIGHTWEIGHTS vs. NAVY, GEORGETOWN