The United States may have the strongest military in the world, but it had better hope that its next war doesn’t come down to an eights race. Or at least, not one against Harvard.
The U.S. Naval Academy was twice thwarted this weekend by the Crimson—once by the heavyweights on the Schuylkill and once by the lightweights on the Charles.
But true to form, the Midshipmen made Harvard fight for victories in several races and stole two from the Crimson lightweights.
“They’re just pretty tough, aggressive guys,” said junior Mike DiSanto, seven seat of the heavyweight first varsity eight. “Those guys are great competitors. They go out, and they go hard every single time we race them.”
NO. 2 LIGHTWEIGHTS vs. NO. 6 NAVY LIGHTWEIGHTS
Races can be won at any stage, so Harvard’s first varsity eight refused to wait, using a strong starting sequence to propel it to a narrow victory.
“We had a great start, which positioned us very well for the rest of the race,” said senior two-seat Jared Dourdeville. “Whenever Navy took a move, and they took a couple of very strong ones, we were able to counter.”
The Crimson finished in a time of 5:53.0, which was 1.2 seconds ahead of the Midshipmen’s 5:54.2. The margin was just enough to give Harvard the Haines Cup for the third year in a row.
The second varsity eight race told a similar story.
“In the 2V race, from what I heard, they had a good start as well,” Dourdeville said. “Navy took a strong move at the 1000 and took a couple seats back. The 2V was able to hold them off.”
The Crimson cruised to a 2.8 second win in the 2V race.
A hotly contested race turned into an easy victory for Harvard in the freshman eight event.
The Midshipmen had taken an early lead, but the Crimson’s 1F was able to regain control of the race and take a three-seat lead when one of Navy’s rowers caught a crab.
“That certainly influenced the final margin,” Dourdeville said.
But Harvard’s race still showcased the improvements the boat has made over the course of the season. The 1F began its season on a losing note but has since rallied to earn wins over strong teams such as Dartmouth and now the Midshipmen.