The Harvard men's heavyweight crews celebrated the coming of spring weather and the end of the academic year by edging Northeastern in three races which were closer than a Xavier McDaniel head-shave.
The varsity, junior varsity and freshman boats all won on the Charles Saturday, but the combined margins of victory totaled a mere 1.63 seconds.
In the varsity race, Coach Harry Parker's troops nipped Northeastern by less than half a second, rowing its way to a time of 5:46.73 to 5:47.15.
The Harvard freshmen also robbed their Northeastern counterparts of victory, crossing the finish line in 5:46.73, .49 seconds ahead of the Huntington Hounds.
In the third race, the Harvard second boat defeated Northeastern in what seemed like a blowout in comparison to the other events. Harvard registered a time of 5:49.25, finishing a whole .72 seconds ahead of Northeastern.
The defending national champions jumped out to a remarkable start in the varsity race, taking a four seat lead after only five strokes, according to sophomore Nick Peterson.
"We had a really good start," Peterson said. "I was really surprised because I thought Northeastern would fly out."
The Crimson continued to row well for the first half of the race, splashing their way to a seemingly comfortable 10-seat lead at the 800-meter mark.
But that's when the trouble started.
Harvard lowered its stroke rating from 38 to 36 strokes per minute at the 1000-meter mark, after having already slowed down from 42 to 38 strokes a minute earlier in the race. This maneuver opened the door for Northeastern to catch up to Harvard, according to Peterson.
"It's bad to call down [the stroke rating] twice," Peterson said.
The Huskies seized the moment and--inspired by their coxswain, Tony Brach--began to close the gap.
"Their coxswain began shouting and was extremely enthusiastic and was pumping his guys up," Peterson said.
On top of all this, Harvard coxswain junior David Weiden began to veer off course.