Clipping a strong Navy boat by less than five seats in a race on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia Saturday, the Harvard heavyweight crew retained the Adams Cup for the fourth straight year and left the three-team race series standing at Harvard 29 wins. Pennsylvania 9, and Navy 8.
Meanwhile, the Princeton Tiger lightweights trounced the Harvard lightweights on the Charles Saturday and capture the Goldthwait Cup for the first time since 1973, leaving that series standing at Harvard 33 wins. Princeton 13, and Yale 10.
The heavyweight race was a two-team event from the start, with Pennsylvania falling behind early after the staggered start on the only dog-legged course the team rows on all season. Harvard, in the middle lane, jumped at the start and made up Navy's initial outer-lane lead of four to five seats after the first 20 strokes.
"We started at a 45-stroke-per-minute cadence and after the first five strokes high and 20 to settle, we had already gained back not only the stagger start seats but also another couple of seats," two-seat Kurt Teske said.
Never Say Die
Navy, which won the 1980 Head of the Charles race, never was behind more than a length the entire race. "Navy never gave up--I was really amazed." Teske said.
Harvard, which started at a 45 cadence, soon settled at a 36, and in the last half of the race had to up it to a 38 and finally a full 40 to win. "Navy was coming on strong at the end. We even gave back two seats in the last 20 strokes of the race--even rowing at a 40 cadence." Teske said.
Both Harvard and Navy, helped by the slight tailwind, finished in excellent times (5:40.4 and 5:42.7) for the 2000-meter course. The Harvard time was just over the course record by a few tenths of a second, while both times would have broken the course record for the Charles.
Pennsylvania finished a lackluster third in 5:49.0 a time even the Harvard J.V. heavies beat by eight seconds in their race.
When the two shells came together for the teams' traditional exchange of shirts, the extent to which Navy had modified its boat since a week ago was readily apparent.
"When he gave his shirt to me, the Navy two seat told me that last week he was in the seven seat." Teske said. "Even with the modified German rigging that they use, it was still quite a personnel change. Much more radical than our switching of J.B. Kelly and Matt Arrott--especially this late in the season." Teske added.
Teske predicted that the Navy boat would be the best bet to win the Eastern Sprints. "They're strong and made a great challenge at the end. Moreover, with Yale's four-seat Andy Messer [6'3', 215 lbs.] out because of sickness. I think they'll be the better boat."
"The weekend was disappointing to say the least--we didn't respond to the line-up changes very well." Bruce Beall, coach of the lights, said of Saturday's poor performance.
The Princeton boat was in the lead from the start and at the 1000-meter mark with a challenge by Harvard pulled a power ten to open the lead to a length by the 1200-meter mark. Yale, running second, pulled to within a half-length of Princeton, but also succumbed to the Tiger's smoother and stronger strokes.
priceton finished in 6:00.78, while Yale claimed second with 6:02,92. Harvard, a little more than a length behind Princeton and a few seats behind Yale, had a time of 6:05.0.
The Harvard boat, whose line-up was shuffled because of illness, had only practiced together 20 minutes Friday afternoon, and the team felt that additional time together would have made the difference.
"It was our toughest race, and we haven't had good water to race on for quite a while." Beall said. "Because of our better technique, we usually do better in choppy water--this was glass compared to most of our races this year," he added.
Beall said he thought that Princeton has had better crows in the past few years "We've expected them to be sharp for a lone time--their freshman crews have been really strong." he said adding. "Our team is anxious to race them again--we are the better crew."