No one celebrated early.
When the Harvard lightweights opened their season with a romp over Delaware, and the Crimson heavyweights followed suit a week later with a 18-second win over Cornell—last year’s IRA bronze medalists—in the first varsity eight race, there were no cries of “Next Stop: Sprints!”
Instead, Harvard took each race, each practice one step at a time. And it didn’t miss a single one.
Both crews knocked off top-10 squads in their second week of racing, with the Crimson heavyweights sweeping No. 7 Brown and the lightweights earning impressive victories in the 1V, 2V, and 3V over No. 10 Penn and No. 5 Georgetown.
The win over the Bears was especially gratifying as Brown handed the Harvard heavyweight 1V its only dual last season.
The next race was the hardest for the Crimson heavyweight 1V, just as the rankings suggested it would be. Princeton was ranked just below No. 3 Harvard at fourth in the country. The Tigers gave the Crimson 1V its toughest race of the season, and Harvard needed a powerful sprint in the last 300 meters to earn the victory.
The rest of the races were more lopsided, especially the 3V race, in which the Crimson 4V was able to beat Princeton’s 3V. On the Charles, the lightweights took care of Dartmouth and MIT while racing in nearly unrowable conditions.
Next on the menu for both the heavyweights and the lightweights was Navy. Both Midshipmen programs put up a strong fight.
The Navy heavyweights had a seven-seat lead on the Crimson 1V at one point during the race and the lightweight 1V was only able to eke out a 1.2 second win. In both cases, Harvard was able to do enough to preserve its undefeated record.
The next weekend was the lightweights’ definitive race of the regular season. Ranked second in the country at the time, the Crimson’s ruthless third 500 meters proved too much for both the then-No. 1 Tigers and No. 4 Yale to handle.
Harvard secured the prized Vogel Cup when the 2V boat also won its race. The heavyweights, by contrast, had an easier time—at least in the 1V race—as the Crimson 1V won by nearly 15 seconds. Harvard’s 1.4 second win in the 1F race preserved the Crimson’s undefeated streak in eights.
Harvard’s success across the board in both weight classes meant that the pressure and expectations were as high at Sprints. But pressure turns coal into diamonds, and it turned Newell Boathouse into Trophy Town. Both of the Crimson’s 1Vs and 2Vs capped off undefeated seasons with Sprints titles, as did the Harvard heavyweight 4V and 1F. Both teams also captured the team titles: the Rowe Cup for the heavyweights and the Jope Cup for the lightweights.
The lightweight 1V won its race with a strong second 1000 while the heavyweights took a lead meters early in the piece.
“I think it was really a textbook performance,” said junior Austin Meyer, seven seat of the lightweight 1V. “We had a good start. We were with everyone. The goal was not to get too far back. Our coxswain [junior] Angela [Chang] did an absolutely amazing job...We had a very strong second half of the race. The last 500 was just about finishing the job and making sure no one else got in front of us.”
“We took a length in the first 750,” said junior six seat Nick Jordan said of the heavyweight 1V race. “[Wisconsin] went with us...but they died, and then we just kept going.”