Both Squads Dominate as Men’s Crew Sweeps Races

Admirals of the Sea
Kevin H. Lin

The Harvard men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew teams demonstrated dominant early-season form in a pair of decisive victories this weekend. The heavyweights took down Cornell in all three varsity eight races, while the lightweights swept four races from the University of Delaware.

Perhaps there was something in the water this weekend.

Both the Charles River and Ithaca’s Cayuga Lake bore witness to dominant showings by the Harvard men’s lightweight and heavyweight crews. In their first races of the season, both squads saw their Crimson blades carry the teams’ boats to first-place finishes in every race.

On Saturday, the No. 4 heavyweight team made the long trek to Ithaca to face No. 11 Cornell for the teams’ first head-to-head race since 1961.

“We went in anticipating that they’d be fast and highly motivated,” assistant coach Wayne Berger said. “We weren’t disappointed in that regard, but we were ready to race hard and challenge them.”

Berger, an alum of the very Ivy League school his team was facing, combined forces with head coach Harry Parker to conquer the Big Red in all five races. In the first race of the day, the third varsity eight appeared to come up short as Cornell’s boat crossed the finish line two seconds ahead. But the win was awarded to Harvard.


“Cornell crossed first, but they were disqualified for a lane violation,” Berger said. “They came into Harvard’s lane and impeded our boat.”

In the next race, a young varsity eight crew came from behind to capture a solid victory over its Big Red competition with a time of 5:36.9. The top boat took to the water with five new sophomore rowers joining captain Blake Pucsek and juniors Anthony Locke and David Wakulich.

“They really like to race, and they’re not inhibited by that or intimidated,” Berger said. “Even though the boats have only been selected for about a week, [the sophomores] raced with poise...They had great control of the race.”

In the next three races, the second varsity, freshman eight, and second freshman eight crews beat Cornell’s boats to the finish line. With that, the Crimson sealed its victory, and Berger ended the day having defeated his former school and classmate, Big Red head coach Todd Kennett.

“It was a fantastic day,” Berger summarized. “Everyone raced really well—it was a great way to open the season.”


Back in Cambridge, the No. 2 Harvard lightweight team opened its season against the University of Delaware.

Like Cornell’s team, the Fightin’ Blue Hens arrived at the race with a regatta under its belt. But this did little to slow the efforts of the Crimson as the home squad swept Delaware in all four races.

“We won all the races by open water—a good margin,” assistant coach Linda Muri explained. “The way the races unfolded gives me confidence as a coach going forward. None of the crews were flustered in the early parts of the race where it’s [typically] going to be close.”

From the start, Harvard’s varsity boats were poised to perform well because of the many experienced athletes on the roster. From the varsity eight returned senior coxswain Dexter Louie and five rowers, including captain Martin Eiermann. All eight rowers from the 3V team retained their seats, and the second varsity eight had eight athletes return—junior coxswain Lizzy Maybank and seven rowers.


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