For eight Harvard rowers, their season lasted long past the end of the school year.
Representing five different countries between them, the octet combined to earn five medals, including two silvers in the Under-23 World Championships last week.
The four was particularly heavy in Crimson representation, featuring three Harvard competitors. Pat Lapage ’12 and junior Andy Holmes raced for Great Britain, and senior Josh Hicks represented Australia.
In the final round, Hicks’ boat raced to a second-place finish, just ahead of Great Britain’s third-place crew.
The fact that he beat two classmates, Hicks said, made the victory even sweeter.
“That was the best bit, beating some of your teammates,” Hicks said. “Beating your buddies is half the fun of rowing. It was just fantastic, Pat Lapage and Andy Holmes are both fantastic rowers.”
Hicks’ silver medal is more impressive in light of the fact that he had been with his three boatmates for only three weeks while all of the other Australian boats were assembled in April. But Hicks said that the timing worked out well.
“We had three weeks instead of three months,” Hicks said. “Our coach impressed upon us how there was a big sense of urgency; we couldn’t waste a training session. It was almost perfect because you had just enough to come together properly as a crew, but it wasn’t so long that your progress starts to stagnate.”
The British boat spent even less time together because of conflicts with the Henley Royal Regatta.
The other Harvard rower to earn silver was incoming freshman Vincent Breet, who earned it for South Africa. Incoming freshman Jay Ditsmarsch won bronze for Australia.
Independent of garnering the new hardware, Hicks said he enjoyed racing for his country.
“It’s a massive honor to be representing your country on any level, whatever country that is,” Hicks said.
Men’s crew head coach Harry Parker said the benefit of the international races extend beyond fostering national pride.
“That [U-23] experience is clearly very valuable,” Parker said. “They go to these U-23 events and they’re competing against the same people they compete against and with at Harvard, and it’s really great for their development.”
Not only did the World Championship event contribute to the development of Harvard rowers, but it also displayed how far the crew has come in recent years.
“This time last year, I think we had two bronze medals and that was it,” Hicks said. “The program at Harvard is getting better and better.”
—Staff writer Jacob D. H. Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, Vincent Breet was said to have earned a silver medal for Russia. In fact, he won the medal for South Africa.