After two years without a loss, the Harvard men’s heavyweight crew was simply that good.
Good enough to win every race by open water. Good enough to match the previous year’s varsity eight at every turn. Good enough to assume its place on the walls of Newell Boathouse, beside the legendary Crimson dynasties of the late ’60s, mid ’70s and late ’80s.
“It’s neat to think we could possibly stack up against those guys we’ve idolized our whole Harvard careers, the ones whose pictures we have on our walls,” said senior eight-seat Kip McDaniel reflecting on his boat’s second consecutive Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship. “It’s nice to think that one day maybe we’ll have our pictures up on that wall, too.”
As if there were any doubt.
Every regatta, the story unfolded in exactly the same way. The Crimson surrendered a seat or two at the start, walked back through its opponent by the 500-meter mark, and then pulled away for a lopsided victory.
There was never any rush, no need to sprint or become too excited, no reason to abandon the low cadence and smooth strokes that powered 24 straight dual victories.
“We’re not flashy,” McDaniel said. “We don’t have a fast start, and we don’t know about our sprint. We just row a really long stroke and power right through it.”