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As good rowing weather prevailed during the greater part of the recess, the crews were enabled to get in a good week's practice, rowing twice a day up to last Saturday, when all except the sophomores laid off for a three days' vacation. All the crews have rowed in their barges except the seniors, who took to shell rowing Tuesday, April 3, using their old twisted shell; they will probably go into their cedar sometime this week. Several short brushes have taken place between the crews, the most noteworthy of these being the one between the Juniors and Freshmen in which the latter easily took the lead. This result created no little surprise among boating men at the boat house, and causes the freshmen to be regarded by the other crews as formidable rivals.
The University crew has been making steady improvement under Col. Bancroft's instruction, and rows in a manner gratifying to all interested in Harvard's success. The time is good and the oars fall well together; there is, however, a tendency in the oars to come up in the middle of the stroke, and the slides are hurried down while the leg force is not put on with enough snap. Stroke does not swing enough; five does not face his oar enough and bow clips; No. 4 lets his slide go too soon and does not catch deep enough. Sawyer and Gilman have recently exchanged places, now rowing at four and two respectively.
The seniors have begun shell rowing, but their form in the shell is rather poor and ragged. As constant changes have been taking place in the make-up of this crew, they have not settled down to even rowing. A final disposition of the men will take place tomorrow or as soon as Morison returns from his vacation. As the shell seules to port in the stern six and stroke are compelled to row under disadvantages; stroke dips too deep and six does not lace his blade enough. No. 7 swings crooked and too far, while No. 3 handles himself and oar in a generally loose manner. Nos. 2, 4 and 5 do not get their oars down on the full reach while the bow four all "sliver out" at the finish. No 5 is rowing in very good general form, and will undoubtedly prove to be one of the strongest and most effective oars in the boat.
The juniors have made some improvement during their vacation but their time is still rather poor and they row a very short stroke. No. 8 rows a jerky stroke, No. 7 catches behind and No. 6 ahead, the port side follow six and there is a break on the starboard side between three and five. The whole crew except stroke sliver out at the finish. No. 6 faces his blade too much and hurries down on the recover and No. 3 does not get his catch hard enough. Bow starts out in good form but somehow soon loses it. The port side as a whole is stronger and in better form than the starboard.
The sophomores are making a great effort for the race, and if they do not come in well at the finish it will not be on account of a lack of interest and labor. The crew averages 160 in weight and the men are all strong for their weight; they have not yet reached perfection in form, and much more hard work will be required to put the crew in good shape. The time of the whole crew is bad and the oars are allowed to sliver out at the finish, thus shortening the stroke at a vital point; No. 8 especially, does not pull his oar through, which is a bad fault in a stroke oar. No. 7 swings in and six meets; four and five have no snap and shoot slowly; five clips and four settles at the finish. No. 3 drops his head at the full reach, goes back too far, clips and does not get enough reach. No. 2's time is poor and he does not get life enough. Bow's time is poor and he clips and settles at the finish.
The freshmen have made rapid improvement during the recess, and the result of their spurt with the juniors on Saturday has served to raise them in the estimation of boating men. In general the form is good for a freshman crew, the swing is uniform and the catch hard and well together; they pull a long stroke, and the oars fall together, but are not pulled clear through. Stroke is rowing in excellent form and bids fair to be an oar of some promise. No. 7, however, does not back him up well. No. 5 slivers out badly. No. 4 doe not get his force on at the beginning and pulls too much with his arms. No. 3 clips, and 2 does not sit straight and rows in poor time.
Much speculation is already indulged in concerning the outcome of the race. The seniors and sophomores will probably make great improvement during the next two weeks, as they have not yet been able to settle down to work with eight regular men, and the former have been rowing in a cranky shell. The juniors have been quietly confident of the race until Saturday, when the freshmen opened their eyes somewhat. Whether or not the latter can keep their spurt up for two miles, remains to be seen. Disinterested parties expect a close and interesting race, and have yet no unanimous opinion as to the winner, although the general verdict is that '83 will not be far from the front, while '86 will by no means bring up the rear.
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