After the long and cold winter, the Harvard men’s lightweight crew team swept the University of Delaware in its debut performance of the spring season, finishing in first for the three varsity eight boats as well as the freshmen eight.
One of Harvard’s stronger performances on the day was the race by the second varsity eight, which finished in 6:23.8, nearly seven seconds ahead of the Blue Hens.
“I would attribute the success today to the incredible amount of fitness we have,” captain Alexander Bonorris said. “We put in a really good, high-volume, training session in the time we were in Florida over the winter, and the momentum from this trip really carried over.”
The largest margin of victory was the 20-second difference made by the freshmen eight, which finished in 6:16.2.
“The freshmen’s win was huge, we always like to see that,” junior Connor Mangan said.
Mangan also highlighted the 3V boat’s win as an impressive finish, as the Crimson came from behind and won the race in the last 500m, finishing at 6:27.1. The Harvard 1V finished at 6:08.1. Both of these victories came through a narrow time wedge, with Delaware finishing less than two seconds behind in both races.
Bonorris rowed stroke for the first eight and Mangan was in the seventh seat for the second varsity.
This year, Harvard has been shackled by the Massachusetts winter, which kept the crew from getting onto the Charles until about 10 days ago, an unusually late start for the spring season. The lack of time on the water has posed a challenge to the Crimson’s performance.
“It’s not a weakness, it’s just a reality,” Mangan said. “We haven’t been on the water very long, and the rowing today was definitely not perfect. If we row better, we’ll go a lot faster.”
“While our fitness is strong, it is natural for the rowing to be raw,” Bonorris added. “We need to improve efficiency and technical prowess.”
The final matchup of the dual race was between two Crimson freshmen fours competing against each other. The final freshmen eight split into two four boats, A and B, with the “A” boat taking the win with a finishing time of 7:36.3.
“The team is young, probably the youngest team I can remember,” Bonorris said. “There are a lot of freshmen and very few seniors, which you usually never see, and the improvement curve continues to be really steep.”
The unusual distribution of age doesn’t seem to bother the team.
“There is a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm from top to bottom,” Bonorris added.
Next week, Harvard opens its Ivy League racing against Penn and Cornell in Ithaca.
“Cornell is always tough, we’ll hopefully have a good weekend with them,” Mangan said. “It’s good to know we have a lot of speed to gain.”
—Staff writer Tanner Skenderian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.