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Men's Lightweight Crew Starts Season with Victory

By Alexa N. Gellman, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard men’s lightweight crew kicked off its spring season with a decisive victory over Delaware on Saturday morning. The Crimson took three out of five races to secure the regatta win at home on the Charles River.

“I think it was one of the best first races of the season we’ve had, at least in my time at Harvard,” said senior Austin Meyer, fourth seat of the first varsity boat. “This is, I think, the best group of guys I have ever been a part of, and that showed through yesterday.”

The Harvard lightweights are coming off of a dominant 2012 season. The Crimson posted an undefeated dual season record and captured both the Eastern title at EARC Sprints and the 2012 IRA National Championship.

The team historically begins its spring season each year by racing the Blue Hens.

“It’s always great to start our season against Delaware,” said senior Erich Shultze, fifth seat of the second varsity boat. “It’s a really good way for us to get into the spring racing and we are really glad they come up every year to race us.”

The Harvard first varsity eight finished in 6:08.4, recording a 16.5-second margin over Delaware.

“Our race was a really well put together row,” Meyer said. “We haven’t been in lineups for too long but the training that we’ve done in small boats has put together a very strong squad from top to bottom. We are all meshing together well at a very early stage, which is promising for the rest of the year.”

Under a minute into the first varsity race, the Crimson had taken the lead over the Blue Hens. Harvard was able to consistently move away from its opponents throughout the length of the course.

“We had a pretty good margin over Delaware, so that was positive,” said senior Matt O’Leary, second seat of the first varsity boat. “We were pleased with how well we started and how well we maintained our speed throughout the race.”

The Harvard second varsity boat posted the biggest margin of the regatta over the Blue Hens. The Crimson finished in 6:23.8, defeating Delaware by 21.1 seconds. The Harvard “A” boat won the third varsity race in 7:23.2, while the Blue Hens took the first and second freshmen races in two close finishes.

“We were fortunate enough to get wins in all three varsity events, and our freshmen race was tough too,” Schultze said. “But, on that note, we also need to know that it’s the first race of the season…. The teams that win later in the year as the races get bigger and become bigger challenges are the teams that make the most progress from week to week.”

The Crimson lightweights are gearing up for their Ivy League opener on April 7 against the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell. Last year, Harvard dominated three of five races to secure the regatta win.

“There is a lot of depth in both of those programs so we definitely need to stick to our preparation this week, do what we know and get prepared to race,” Schultze said. “We have to get better from practice to practice. It’s early enough in the season that there is still a lot of progress to be made every single day.”

Despite this weekend’s strong showing, the Harvard rowers still stress the need for continual improvement to match the program’s success last season.

“We have to make sure the whole team is improving every week,” O’Leary said. “It can’t just be one boat or one guy; it has to be all boats across the board.”

Meyer, a veteran rower, expressed confidence in the crew’s ability to achieve its goals for the season and repeat, if not surpass, its 2012 performance.

“I definitely think that this crew has the focus and the potential to be the best crew in Harvard lightweight history,” Meyer said.

—Staff writer Alexa N. Gellman can be reached at agellman@college.harvard.edu.

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