Harvard has been rowing a series of annual eight-oar shell races with Yale since 1876. The record won is a tie-each college having row six races. Prior to the eight-oar contests the record was 17 to 4 in favor of Harvard. Beginning with the annual series, Yale won in 1876 by eight lengths. The following three years Harvard's crew, with Bancroft as stroke and captain in '77 and '78, and with Trimble as captain in '79, won all the races. In 1880, Yale won, and also in 1881 by six seconds. Capt. Hammond in 1882 and 1883 brought victory to Harvard. The 1884 crew lost. Capt. Storrow's crew won easily in 1885. Yale won in 1886 and 1887, tying the score.
Our crew this year is under the direction of a committee of five, consisting of Messrs. R. C. Watson, Robert Bacon, Francis Peabody, Jr., H. W. Keyes and Captain E. C. Storrow. Heretofore the graduates have had little opportunity to give the crews the benefit of their experience and the crew has been almost entirely under the control of men who have been interested in rowing only two or three years. The plan of having the students work together in this matter with men of larger experience is considered to be an important step.
The following candidates are rowing at present:- W. Alexander, L. S.; J. T. Davis, '89; E. C. Storrow, '89 (capt.); P. D. Trafford, '89; G. A. Carpenter, '88; B. T. Tilton, '90; R. F. Perkins, '89; A. P. Hebard, '89; J. Longstreth, S. S.; J. P. Hutchinson, '90; F. Dana, L. S.; G. S. Howe, '89; J. R. Finlay, '91; G. Hubbard, L. S.: T. N. Perkins, '91; J. N. Cushing, L. S.; T. W. Slocum, '90.
Alexander was a substitute of Capt. Keyes' crew at New London last year, and has never rowed a four mile race.
Davis pulled at No. 5 in his freshman crew at New London. In his sophomore year he rowed No 5 in the '87 university crew.
Trafford has never rowed a race. He was a freshman foot-ball player, and last fall was right guard of the university eleven.
Carpenter rowed on his junior class crew. Last fall he was a substitute of the university eleven.
Tilton rowed No. 6 in last year's freshman crew.
Storrow stroked the '89 crew and also the university crew at New London last year.
Perkins pulled on his freshman crew and was a substitute of the '87 university crew.
Hebard rowed on his sophomore class crew.
Hutchinson and Slocum rowed seven and five respectively in the '90 freshman boat.
The remaining men have not rowed, although equally promising, with those mentioned. Thus the only veterans left are Captain Storrow and Davis. The most promising candidates, with the exception of the foot-ball men, practised watermanship on the river in the fall. Since then the men have been at work with the rowing machines, the chest-weights and the dumb-bells, and have taken walks and runs out-of-doors. The great trouble is that owing to the many ideas about the stroke during the past five years, it is hard to get the men to row alike. There is also a certain deadness in the rowing which the men cannot seem to overcome. So the work now is almost entirely spent in getting the men to row alike, and to get out of their heads the fundamentally wrong principles of the last five years. This is what the coaches are working upon.
The hope of the crew is in the men from the lower classes who are rowing in the class crews. The six old men who are not rowing-including two '88 men, one '89 man, two law students and one medical student-will positively not row, although some of them were at one time expected. These six places will be hard to fill. The material at first looked promising, but just now it is considered a little disappointing for various reasons. It is gratifying, however, to know that the examination of the candidates by Dr. Sargent shows that there is strength, but the chief failing in many of the men is found to be small lung power. If the material were a little older and not quite so raw the committee would have no reason to complain, for the men are very faithful. The material does not appear to stand the work quite as well as was expected, and last week a recess was allowed.
Our opponents, during these winter months, have had practical watermanship in a tank, and the result is that now on the river their blade work is found to be excellent. When once on the river, our crew must make up for all drawbacks.