Finding the word to fit the Harvard freshman lightweight crew is no easy task. Words like "great," "unbelievable" or "fantastic" simply aren't sufficient to describe a team whose average margin of victory this season has been 21 seconds, a whopping five boat-lengths.
The most significant thing behind this record is that the team achieved it with only two rowers, stroke Clint Rubin and number seven man Jon White, who had previous rowing experience.
The other six members of the team-Peter Fuchs, Bill Chapman, Ed Timmins, Ricky Taylor, Mike Loucks and Jeff Parker-never touched an oar prior to last September.
All of the oarsmen are natural athletes, having played football, basketball, soccer, track, swimming and wrestling in high school.
But on coming to Cambridge in the fall they opted for the rigors of Newell Boathouse.
"I liked the unique physical conditioning and muscular development that crew offered," says number five Chapman.
Bow man Parker adds, "I discovered that there was a spirit of camaraderie in crew unlike that found in any other sport. Crew is a team sport, not an individual one. There are eight guys pulling together for the common goal of moving the boat."
An integral member of the team is coxswain J. Allen Cox. Cox has his own peculiar reasons for liking crew.
"I like being outside and on the water," says Cox. "As coxswain, I feel I contribute to the team in the way a quarterback or a jockey does."
The biggest problem facing the oarsmen is weight. The crew had to lose an average of 18 pounds per man for the boat to average the required 150 pounds. Number four Timmins had to shed 28 pounds to reach his assigned weight of 151.
Although it is premature to label the Yardlings the fastest freshman crew in the East-that will be decided at tomorrow's sprints-they do have the potential to break the record of the largest margin of victory, eight seconds, set by last year's Crimson freshmen.
The man responsible for the success of the Harvard lightweight program is coach Dick Prentke.
Prentke was captain of the Princeton lights ("We beat Harvard my senior year," he says with pride) and coached at Jeb Stuart High School and Georgetown before coming to Harvard Law School and assuming the freshman coaching reins.
In an era when player-coach feuds have wracked many Harvard teams, it's refreshing to hear the freshmen talk about their coach-they all love the guy.
"He's the best coach I've ever had, seen, or heard about," says Timmins. "He's a great coach and an even greater person."
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