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Sunny skies grace the horizon for the Harvard men's crew this spring season. With a legend for a coach and a winning history from here to Henley, the Crimson has high expectations despite graduating six seniors.
When it opens this season at the San Diego Crew Classic on March 30, the Crimson will face competition from west coast schools, including top rival Washington University of St. Louis.
Despite consisting mostly of sophomores, the squad enters the spring season brimming with confidence.
"I'm excited about [our prospects]," said senior Alexander Blake. "People are not expecting much of us, but there's lots of promise from the sophomore class."
Harvard proved itself this fall during an annual tournament in Hawaii, where it beat Stanford and Hawaii among other west coast rivals.
The Crimson generally competes well against west coast teams in its annual season opener in San Diego, and this year should be no exception. Harvard will be aiming to defeat its most serious competition, Washington University, instead.
How is it that the Crimson, a team without water access during the fall season, manages to defeat the west coast water babies? Sheer guts on a one-track ergometer and a "master motivator" for a coach, observers said.
Throughout the winter and fall, each member of the team must work out on seated rowing machines, where it's about man versus himself and a little digital clock constantly flashing times.
"It's tough erging at times, but being able to think about the spring season and knowing that the work will pay off helps," Blake said.
While a great work ethic is always the rule, said senior Matthew Moeser, "this was our best winter of training." Such preparation, when combined with the team's success during Head of the Charles and Tail of the Charles races last fall, certainly bodes well for the team's prospects this spring.
Despite the steady influx of new players, one factor will remain constant--coach Harry Parker, who has led the team since 1962 and who, in the eyes of Moeser, is a "legend."
Though a "man of few words," according to Blake, he always motivates his team to give its best.
It was Parker who led the Harvard men's crew to a sixth-place finish in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City, the first Olympic appearance by an entire Harvard boat.
While Parker might be hard-pressed to repeat such a feat, the pieces are in place for a very successful season.
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