The Harvard men’s lightweight crew completed yet another perfect regular season, but the IRA National Title remains elusive to the Crimson.
Both the Harvard heavyweight and lightweight crews have experienced success during the 2011-12 season. Heading into May’s EARC sprints, both crews boasted undefeated records. While the heavyweights finished in second, the top-ranked lightweights came out on top.
But the season is far from over for both squads, as the Crimson will compete against Yale and at the IRA National Championships in late May.
The Harvard heavyweights began their spring season on the West Coast, competing in the two-day San Diego Crew Classic. The Crimson first varsity boat won the Copley Cup, coming out on top of a 34-boat field.
Harvard traveled to the Seekonk River to challenge Brown the following weekend. The Crimson rowers took four of its six races to retain the Stein Cup. Harvard battled difficult conditions in what proved to be a very close first varsity race.
“The most challenging race was probably against Brown,” captain Michael DiSanto says. “They row well and row extremely hard, especially down there on their home course.”
At home on the Charles River, the Crimson recorded a five-race sweep against competitors Princeton and MIT. Harvard went on to defeat Navy and Penn in four out of five races in Annapolis, Md., to capture the Adams Cup. In its final dual race at home, the Crimson dominated once again by sweeping all five races against Northeastern.
Despite the undefeated dual season, the Harvard first varsity boat faced a disappointing result at EARC Sprints. It placed second behind Brown, although the first freshman eight secured a Sprints title, and the Crimson recorded a team win.
“Overall, we are looking forward,” DiSanto says. “We have Harvard-Yale [on May 26] and then IRAs [beginning May 31]. We had a disappointment at Sprints, so I am almost positive that the guys will work hard and respond. We’ll give it 110 percent. That is our goal going forward.”
The Harvard lightweights kicked off their dual season with a four-race sweep of Delaware. Their success in that first race of the spring set the tone for what was to be a season of dominance and consistency.
The first-ranked Crimson posted an undefeated dual season record. The first varsity boat was also victorious all season long.
After a successful showing against Delaware, Harvard traveled to Ithaca, NY., where it took three out of five races against Cornell and Penn on the Big Red’s home course. The Crimson went on to capture the Biglin Bowl trophy the following weekend by defeating Dartmouth and MIT at home on the Charles River.
After Harvard defeated both Navy and Georgetown, the Crimson geared up to face its two Ivy League rivals in the final dual race of the season: the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Regatta. The race held particular significance for the Harvard rowers after the first varsity boat fell to Yale by only .02 seconds at last year’s IRA National Championships.
The Crimson defeated the Bulldogs and Tigers to secure a varsity and overall team win. The Harvard first varsity boat again challenged Yale and Princeton in both the heat and grand final at EARC Sprints, and came away victorious in both races.