While seniors go through the stately rituals of Commencement and reunioners frolic and make merry, 37 Harvard oarsmen have been hard at work at the Crimson's Red Top headquarters on the Thames River near New London, Conn.
The Crimson crew is a definite under-dog as it trains for the 98th renewal of the Harvard-Yale Regatta which will be run this Saturday on the Thames. Last year, with five sophomores in their varsity heavyweight boat, the Elis broke a three year Crimson winning streak.
Might Even Series
A win for the Blue this year will put them in an excellent position to tie the series in the 100th race in 1965. Harvard currently holds a slender 50-47 advantage in the competition.
Judging by performances this spring, Yale should come out in front. The Elis have experience and a good record, which was capped by a close second place finish in the Eastern Sprint competition. Harvard did not place in that meet.
But past triumphs can be deceiving in the Regatta, because the crews will have to row a grueling four mile course. It is the only four mile crew event still in existence.
Harvard morale was measurably raised last week when the Crimson crew turned in a better time than their Yale counterparts on the first trial run at the four mile distance. The Crimson was several seconds ahead of Yale with a 20:12 time.
A few days later the Crimson received a psychological boost from Yale captain Bill Petty. Showing up for pictures wearing the Harvard shirt he won last year as an undershirt, Petty only inspired the Harvard rowers instead of discouraging them.
Going into the Regatta Harvard's heavies have a 2-1 record. They lost to Penn at 2,000 meters (about a mile and one-quarter), and failed to qualify for the Eastern Sprints over the same distance. The Crimson has won two races at a mile and three-quarters distance.
Yale has a 2-2 mark, but one of the losses was to M.I.T. over a two mile distance.
Five Sophomores for Harvard
Harry Parker, in his first year as coach of the Crimson heavies, will have five sophomores in the Crimson boat for the race. They include Bob Schwarz at bow, Tom Pollock at four, Mike Soper at five, Paul Gunderson at six, and Geoff Picard at stroke. Elsewhere in the boat will be Nick Bancroft at two, Harry Pollock at three, Spencer Borden at seven, and Ted Washburn, the coxswain.
Before the varsity four-mile main event the freshmen will row a two-mile downstream race, and the junior varsity will follow with a three mile test. On Friday a race between the reserves of both squads will be held on a two mile course.
The Regatta series, which began in 1852 on Lake Winnepesaukee, N.H., was the start of all intercollegiate competition in the United States.