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Spring officially begins today as Harvard's varsity heavyweight crew takes to the water in competition for the first time since the Olympic Games last October.
the Crimson oarsmen compete against Brown and Rutgers in Harvard's fourth straight defense of the Stein Cup.
Harvard has never lost possession of the trophy, but will be rowing against a Bruin squad which turned in an impressive win over Boston University last week. Rutgers lost its first two outings by close margins to strong Princeton and Yale.
The crew which rows the 2000 muddy meters in Providence this morning is far different from the eight which represented the United States in the Olympics. There are five new faces in the boat.
Sophomore Tim Tiffany will cox today's race, and Charlie Hamlin (Number 2), Bill Hobbs (3), Ed Porter (4), and Mike Livingston (6) will be making their first starts for Harvard on the varsity level.
But all four new oarsmen have Olympic experience. Hamlin rowed in the U.S.'s "fours without cox" and Hobbs was in the "twos with cox." Livingston and Porter, who matured on the Crimson's J.V. squad last year, went to Mexico as spares for the U.S. small boats team.
All five new men are fitting in well with the returning starters, making the team one of the most talented group of oarsmen in the United States.
Captain Clive Livingston will row at the seven position, and although he is the lightest man in a boat averaging 194 pounds, he more than makes up for it with his strength and technique.
Art Evans will start at stroke. Unable to race in the Olympic finals because of illness, Evans has been rowing as well as he ever has and should be capable of coaxing the best out of the boat.
Fritz Hobbs (5) and Steve Brooks (1) round out the boat and provide a tremendous amount of experience on both the intercollegiate and international levels.
Harvard plans no special strategy or experimentation for today's effort. Coach Harry Parker shifted his veterans around to new positions during pre-season practice to get the best possible combination with the talents of the new men, but the crew will start at its usual 40-plus strokes per minute and settle to a steady 36-37 for the race today.
"We're not watching for any one particular thing in the race," Parker said. "We know that we can achieve a good speed, but how well we sustain it is the important thing," he said.
"We're just going to row as hard and as well as we can," he said.
Harvard hasn't lost to a college crew in its last 37 starts, and the Seekonk should yield up number 38 this morning.
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