While Harvard-Yale tailgates got most students out of bed on a Saturday morning before 10 a.m. for the first time all fall this weekend, the Harvard men’s crews were already racing through the powerhouse stretch, bringing their fall season to a close with several victories at the Tail of the Charles.
After nearly two decades of unsuccessful attempts at knocking off Princeton, the Harvard lacrosse program finally had its way against the Tigers this season. For the first time since 1990, both Crimson squads defeated their Ivy League rival.
Rowing is a sport of repetition. Although an oarsman may achieve one perfect stroke, to repeat that flawless motion even twice, never mind over 200 times down a 2,000-meter race course in sync with seven other people, is a true feat. Fortunately, when it comes to racing, a crew just has to come closer to perfection than its opponent in order to win.
Harvard heavyweight crew topped favorite Brown for the varsity eight and team titles at Eastern Sprints on Sunday, but the lightweights suffered their first defeats of the season, coming in second to rival Princeton.
Rowing great Jim Dietz once said, “Rowing is a sport for dreamers. As long as you put in the work, you can own the dream.” Last season, the Harvard men’s lightweight varsity eight fell just short of its goal to become league and national champions, placing second at Eastern Sprints and then third at IRAs. Having won the 2009 Jope Cup for overall team points and graduating only three members of its varsity crew, the oarsmen knew there was reason to keep the dream alive.
For prospective Harvard oarsmen, part of the appeal of rowing on the Charles River is that each day you’ll catch a glimpse of various other crews in training—some of which, like Northeastern, will be your competition later in the year.
Even though the scene certainly resembled a clash between naval fleets, it was in actuality the 74th annual Compton Cup—a meeting of old rivals, the No. 4 Harvard men’s heavyweight crew, the No. 7 Princeton Tigers, and the MIT Engineers.
This past Saturday, the Harvard men’s heavyweight varsity dedicated its sleek, yellow Empacher eight to Olympic gold medalist and former Crimson rower, Malcolm Howard ’05. There is no question what the name of this boat will represent to those who sit in its seats.