If Tom Bolles is worrying about anything these days, it isn't about filling his Varsity boat when the time comes for the crew to move out on the Charles next spring. For, to be short, he has a whole batful of good material, and his problems consist mostly in finding the right man for the right slot before the first race.
By almost any standards, last year's crew was not successful. After coming in second to Cornell in the opener (they beat out Princeton with a terrific surge in the last quarter mile), the oarsmen journeyed unfruitfully to Annapolis, coming in ninth in a field of nine, lost to M.I.T. on the Charles, whipped an unpracticed Yale crew for the eighth successive time, and accepted an invitation to the Washington regatta in Seattle during the summer term. In the far reaches of the West, the crew came in fifth among ten crews, but were driving hard at the finish and probably displayed their best form of the season right there.
When Bolles' crews moved off the river and into the tanks at Newell recently, all but one man from the boat that beat Yale last year was in College and available for duty next spring. In addition about a dozen or so from the war-time informal crews, and from various 1942 boats were working in and around Newell.
Soup Gardiner, stroke in both the Yale race and the Seattle regatta will be on the Charles come spring, although he has spent his afternoons this fall under the tutelage of another master--Dick Harlow. Bim Chanler, number seven throughout the season, worked this fall in preparation for his last season here. Lane Barton, who filled the number six slide, has not been on the river thus far, but should be available to Bolles for another three seasons, while Paul, Knaplund, at five, rowed steadily through the autumn and has another two years in front of him. Soccer claimed Mike Scully, number four oar in the '46 boat, during the last couple of months, but he has a full three years to come. Tom Perry, in the number three position last year, was lost to the Crimson by graduation in June. Bowman Will Cochran, however, has two years to go, and was on the river this fall.
Bolles also has Lou Cox on tap. Cox stroked the first race against Cornell, Princeton, and M.I.T., and the Annapolis encounter, while rowing six at Seattle.
Behind these men, a boatload or so of other talent makes seating on next spring's first boat unpredictable. Both Bob Stone and Stu Clark, from the '42 Freshman crew, are back from service and bidding strong for the Varsity. Frank Cunningham, once of the '42 150's, and Sam Davis, from the combination crew of the same year, were also on the river this fall.
Before five o'clock shadows chased Bolles' crews off the River, a month and a half of practice was culminated in a series of trial races, and from these, although they were conducted on a generally more leisurely level than the spring exertions, Bolles got a line on what he has to look forward to in April.
Non-compulsory practice in the Newell tanks, where form and style are the watchwords, have been the order of the day since then. Tank work will begin in earnest come February, and from that time on Bolles will keep a weather eye on the ice outside his door. When it breaks up, the shells will move again onto the Charles and the first real post-war rowing season will be under way.