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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Harvard Second Overall in Head of the Charles

By Lucy M. Schulte

The 16th annual Head of the Charles Regatta, blessed with the traditional sunny skies and low winds, witnessed the continuation of another tradition--a strong performance from the Harvard boat. Harry Parker's crew, rowing at full strength, nabbed third place behind Navy and West Germany in yesterday's feature event, one slot ahead of the United States Olympic eight.

Grinding to a Halt

The Crimson rowed a strong race, "settling in at a 32," seven man John MacEachern said, "which felt good all the way down the course." Although one part of the course--the powerhouse stretch just past the Western Ave. bridge--gave them problems, the crowd helped restore the boat's rhythm as it covered the three-mile course in 15:42.

The Olympians, on the other hand, had problems of their own. "Florida Institute of Technology decided they weren't going to get out of our way," Charlie Altekruse '80, former Harvard captain and present national team member said, adding that because of FIT and other slow crews, the Olympians had to hold back.

That, coupled with the three-month lay-off since the eight last rowed at the Henley Regatta, enabled the Crimson to finish ahead of the national team.

"We came back to have a good time," Altekruse stressed, "and we did have a good time. Three months ago we were the second fastest crew in the world. Now, we're not."

The other Harvard heros of the day were in the Youth Eight, which finished in second place, just two seconds behind Yale. Those two seconds were lost when the crowd was densest and loudest--under the Anderson bridge.

The same was true for Radcliffe's championship eight, which stroked to an impressive sixth-place finish in a field of highly competitive international boats.

Differences

"The crew moved really well," number-five Tory Laughlin, who returned from retirement to replace captain Anne Benton, said.

But, she added, they "fell apart just before the Anderson Bridge," probably because of crowd distraction.

The Radcliffe eight also suffered from a lack of nearby crews. Stroke Katie Kelley felt that the eight moved amazingly well, "considering all of the open space behind us. We had no one to hold off."

In the Bag

Kelley also felt coach Carie Graves' switch of Kate Butler from three seat to bow helped the balance of the boat, solving one of the squad's main problems. The eight was kept at an even low cadence to best utilize the power of the Radcliffe squad.

As for the Harvard and Radcliffe coaches, who enter the event each year, Parker finished behind his original seat of 10 in the singles, while Graves rowed twice and won both her events--the women's championship fours and the national team mixed eight.

Results

Veteran singles: John Kelly Jr. of Vesper Boat Club, Pa.

Mixed Eights: Charles River Rowing Association, Mass.

Championship Doubles: P. Walter and B. Ford of Victoria City R.C., Canada

Women's Championship Singles: Judy Geer of Dartmouth R.C., N.H.

Men's Championship Fours: Vesper Boat Club, Pa.

Women's Championship Eights: St. Catherine's R.C. of Canada

Men's Championship Singles: Chris (Tiff) Wood of Harvard

Women's Championship Fours: Lake Washington R.C., Wa.

Men's Championship Eights: U.S. Naval Academy, Md.

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