This weekend proved to be another successful outing for both Harvard men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew teams. The No. 3 heavyweights raced Princeton and MIT at home on the Charles River on Saturday, defeating both competitors to win the Compton Cup. The No. 4 lightweights also had a strong showing, racing twice in one weekend. On Saturday, the lightweights beat Navy on the Severn River to secure the Haines Cup. The Crimson then travelled to Princeton, N.J. to sweep all three races against Georgetown.
The Harvard heavyweights started its spring season with back-to-back wins against Cornell and Brown, and the Crimson continued to gain momentum with a decisive win over both Princeton and MIT. The first varsity boat toppled the Tigers and Engineers to take home its eighth-straight Compton Cup.
“In general, it was a great day for Harvard rowing,” captain Andrew Holmes said. “We performed at a very high standard across the board, with all boats gaining speed throughout the week of practice leading up to the race with Princeton.”
The Crimson first varsity boat took an early lead over its competitors, and by the midway point of the race, Harvard had a half-length advantage over Princeton. But the Tigers pushed the Crimson to the finish line, forcing a close race. Harvard ultimately finished in 6:09.0, just over a second ahead of Princeton. Both Ivy League crews defeated MIT with an open-water lead.
The second varsity race was the closest of the morning. The Tigers took an early lead with an open-water advantage over the Crimson, but Harvard pushed through to ultimately finish 0.4 seconds ahead of Princeton with a time of 6:19.3.
“They didn't let the start of the race phase them,” Holmes said. “The boat found their rhythm and just ground down the opposition (Princeton) until they broke. It was a well-deserved victory for the crew as they have been showing all season that they have been the fastest crew in the second half of the race.”
The Crimson third varsity boat fell to the Tigers by a considerable margin, finishing in 6:44.9.
The Harvard fourth varsity eight had a close finish, but outlasted Princeton by half a second.
“I think the team has been improving every race, and I think this will be our main focus throughout the remainder of the season,” Holmes said. “Every week we aim to increase our speed a little bit, as every tenth of a second will count during the championship races."
The Harvard lightweights kicked off the weekend with a strong performance against Navy on Saturday on the Severn River and followed up by sweeping Georgetown on Sunday. The Crimson first varsity boat toppled the Midshipmen to capture their sixth-straight Haines Cup, and Harvard took five of six races on the morning.
“We thought it was a good weekend,” assistant coach Linda Muri said. “We had strong results both days against very good competition. [Navy] is a very physical team, so to be able to do that well is very good.”
The first varsity competition against the Midshipmen was the closest race on Saturday. The Crimson finished in 6:05.3, 2.7 seconds ahead of Navy. The Harvard second varsity boat recorded an open-water victory, finishing in 6:07.05. The Crimson third varsity boat completed the varsity sweep by beating Navy by over 20 seconds with a time of 6:40.3.
The Harvard first freshman boat completed the course in 6:10.00, finishing over 13 seconds ahead of its competitors. The second freshman rowers were the only boat to fall to Navy.
On Sunday, the Crimson lightweights continued on to Princeton, N.J. where the team faced Georgetown.
“I think they handled [the travel] very well,” Muri said. “In the long run it evens out, but I think the guys handled it very well in terms of staying quiet on the bus and hydrating and just getting ready for the recovery in between the two races.”
The Harvard first varsity boat posted a decisive victory over the Hoyas, finishing in 6:29.71 with a 13.09-second victory margin. The Crimson second and third varsity boats raced together, both finishing ahead of Georgetown’s second boat. The Harvard first and second freshman boats also toppled the Georgetown third varsity boat.
“We are always trying to get a little bit faster so that we are ready for the championship races,” Muri said. “We’ve still got about 7 weeks to go in terms of preparation and trying to fine tune, find a little more speed here and there, and a little more consistency.”
—Staff writer Alexa N. Gellman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.