Past performances and highly gratifying work in practice this week make the varsity crew a pretty clear favorite in the 2000 meter Eastern Sprint Championship race Saturday at Annapolis.
Eleven other crews will be pulling for the same honor and at least two of these, M.I.T. and Penn, will undoubtedly make it tough for the Crimson. Yale and possibly Cornell could also make trouble. The Big Red, however, got on the water very late this spring and is not in shape yet.
What really counts for this race, a half mile and 39 feet shorter than the usual mile and three-quarter test, is sprinting ability; and this has been the varsity's forte thus far. In three races the Harvard oarsmen have overhauled their opposition by powerful and fast rowing in the stretch.
During practice sessions, after their victory over Penn and Navy last Saturday, the varsity and the J.V. have made the transition to rowing a shorter distance as smoothly as could be desired. By now, the oarsmen have made up for the kinks bad weather threw into their form early in the season. In fact, coach Tom Bolles noted yesterday that this year's crew had reached top operating condition in five less days than did last year's excellent eight.
More than mere men could work against the crew at Annapolis, however. Some perverted whim, probably a lust for spectacle, impelled the athletic directors of the entering schools to run the regatta in one big race rather than in heats, as is customary. This could mean that the boat rowing in lane one may travel under entirely different tidal conditions than the shell in lane 12.
Fortunately the crew coaches got together this week and decided to mass the fastest squads in the center in order to minimize the possible effects of nature. At this meeting, the coaches seeded Harvard first, Penn second, M.I.T. third, Yale fourth, Cornell fifth, and Columbia sixth.
Tech, Penn Close
Tech ranked third probably because it has a less impressive rowing tradition than Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, the Engineers may well outrow the Quakers. Other entries in the varsity race are: Rutgers, Wisconsin, B.U., Navy, Princeton, and Syracuse.
All in all 34 crews, a new high for E.A.R.C. regattas, will have rowed by the time the freshmen and J.V.'s have done their stint. The Crimson J.V. looked bad only against Princeton this season when the Nassaus had just imported several varsitymen into their second boat. In their next race, with Penn and Navy, it won easily. Tomorrow, when the Princeton J.V. will be back to normal, the J.V. oarsmen have a better than 50-50 chance to win.