The men’s lightweight crew lost its first race of the season to Navy in the Haines Cup on the Charles River Saturday morning.
“It was a disorganized sprint,” captain Nick Blannin said. “We hadn’t prepared sprinting and weren’t as crisp as we needed to be.”
The Crimson (5-1) barely missed the win. Less than half a second separated Harvard from returning the Haines Cup to Cambridge. The No. 7 Midshipmen (6-2) won in a time of 5:55.61. The Crimson trailed in 5:56.07.
Harvard had a strong start, taking some early seats. The first varsity has been working hard on the middle 1000 meters of its race, which seemed to have paid off. The Crimson had a six-seat lead at the midway point, which it held until the last 500 meters. Harvard has not spent significant time working on its sprints this spring, and it proved costly on Saturday.
“At some point some people weren’t rowing together,” junior Alex Binkley said. “No crew team can afford to not row together. Nobody gave up, there was simply a technical flaw in the boat.”
The race was a learning experience for the Crimson. Many moves and countermoves were made, and side-by-side racing will be good practice for later on in the season.
“It was better this happened now than three weeks from now at the Eastern Sprints Championships,” Binkley said. “We didn’t want to lose, but it’s a good lesson to work on.”
All three Crimson boats and the two freshman boats fell to the Midshipmen. The second varsity boat lost 6:05.67 to 6:06.95. The third varsity fell in a close 6:18.5 to 6:18.9 race, while the first and second freshman boats fell by wider margins, 6:08.19 to 6:22.06 and 6:24.27 to 6:38.29, respectively.
Despite the disappointing losses, Harvard still holds the lead in the Haines Cup series, 33-4. The Crimson rowers did not seem discouraged from the experience and said they were looking forward to more racing.
“We’re still confident in our racing and on track for a successful season,” said Blannin.
Next weekend Harvard will face No. 3 Princeton and defending national champion No. 4 Yale in the Goldthwait Cup on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn.