Men's Heavyweight Crew Sweeps Harvard-Yale Regatta

It’s not The Game, but The Race.

And after the Harvard men's heavyweight crew's first varsity eight cruised to a 9.9-second victory over Yale in the 147th Harvard-Yale Regatta, the Crimson has now captured both historic events in the 2011-12 season.

The rest of the Harvard boats fared just as well in the regatta, sweeping the Bulldogs.

“All of the seniors thought it was really important to us to leave a little legacy as we are graduating,” said senior Nick Jordan, five seat of the second varsity eight. “I was really proud of all of the boats doing well in occasionally tough conditions.”

With Saturday’s results on the Thames River in New London, Conn., Harvard recorded its fifth straight sweep of Yale and its 12th varsity win over the Bulldogs in its last 13 tries.

The Crimson seniors capped off their H-Y careers by never having experienced a loss to their historic rivals during their four years on the team.

“It’s pretty special that no boats have lost to Yale in my memory,” captain Michael DiSanto said. “I have never been down here and known a loss to Yale. We have now tied the longest record for consecutive sweeps at five, and it was cool having been a part of four of them.”

Jordan reflected on the uniqueness of the historic Harvard-Yale Regatta experience.

“You are engulfed in the team all the time and away from all other distractions,” Jordan said. “You really appreciate the guys in your crew and the tradition of Harvard rowing as a whole.”

The Harvard first varsity eight capped off its undefeated dual season with a clear victory over the Bulldog crew on the four-mile course. The Crimson finished in 19:41.3.

The Harvard rowers’ previous H-Y experience helped contribute to their success on the longer-distance course.

“[Harvard coach] Harry [Parker] builds in training for this race throughout the year, since our first week in school,” DiSanto said. “It is not the first time we are seeing the four-mile distance.... And, as a senior, you have done it a few times before.  We had four seniors in the boat, so we had some knowledge of how to race the four-mile distance, which was helpful.”

The second varsity race was the most uneven matchup of the day. The Crimson took the lead early in the race and continued to stretch it throughout the three-mile course. Harvard won in 14:55.5 with a 31.7-second margin over Yale.

“I think Yale just didn’t show up to race,” Jordan said. “We were pretty confident going in. But we thought they were going to be aggressive off the start and try to throw us off our game, so we tried to do the exact same thing.”

After taking a boat-length lead over the Bulldogs, the whole boat was energized to keep increasing the gap.