Harvard Heavyweights Win at Henley Royal Regatta

The intercollegiate rowing season ends with the IRA national championships in early June, but perhaps the most prestigious annual competition that the Harvard crews compete in concluded Sunday, across the pond at the Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames in England.

The Crimson men’s heavyweight 1V captured the Ladies’ Plate by beating the British Leander Boat Club by one foot in a sprint to the finish. The win marked the second in three years for Harvard and the eighth all-time. It also rounded out the 50th season of Crimson coach Harry Parker’s tenure at the helm of the heavyweights.

Leander led for nearly the entire race before a furious sprint propelled Harvard to victory in the final 50 meters of the course. The winning time of 6:33 was a full 30 seconds faster than the fastest time in qualifying, a 7:06 time by the Crimson in the semifinal on Saturday. Patrick Lapage ’12, Matthew Edstein ’12, Sam O’Connor ’12, and captain Mike DiSanto ’12 capped off their Harvard careers with their second Ladies’ Plate trophies. Rising seniors James O’Connor, Parker Washburn, and David Fuller (coxswain) and rising juniors Caspar Jopling and Andrew Holmes rounded out the eight-man boat.

Three other Crimson/Radcliffe boats reached at least the semifinals of various competitions at Henley, with the national champion Harvard lightweights falling in the Temple Challenge Cup, the Crimson heavyweight four losing out in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, and the Radcliffe heavyweight eights also bowing out in the penultimate race of the Remenham Challenge Cup.  The freshman men’s heavyweight eight lost in the quarterfinals of the Temple Challenge Cup.

Chris Kingston ’11 coxed his new crew, the Star Club, to victory in the Britannia Challenge Cup, and rising senior Josh Hicks rowed for the Australian U-23 boat, coming home with a victory in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup. Rising junior Andrew Campbell advanced to the semifinals of the lightweight sculls.

Staff writer Alexander Koenig can be reached at