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Sports

Harvard Heavyweight Crew Wins Eastern Sprints

5.20.14

The undefeated varsity heavies in action at the Sprints

The undefeated varsity heavies in action at the Sprints

Photograph courtesy of Harvard Athletics

The varsity eight, wearing their gold medals on the dock

The varsity eight, wearing their gold medals on the dock

The Harvard squad celebrates at Quinsigamond

The Harvard squad celebrates at Quinsigamond

Photograph courtesy of Harvard Athletics

At the Eastern Sprints regatta on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Massachusetts, this past weekend, the undefeated Harvard heavyweight crew, under new coach Charley Butt, led all the way and defeated Brown by 1.7 seconds en route to winning the big prize. The Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) stages the annual regatta, which brings together the top collegiate men’s crews from the eastern half of the country (including Wisconsin). By winning the varsity eight final (view a video of the race shot from the finish line area here), the Crimson locked up their fifth consecutive Rowe Cup, symbolic of overall supremacy in the heavyweight events.

Yale’s huge eight-oared crew (averaging 210-215 pounds), who had not lost prior to this regatta, had been seeded first at the Sprints, ahead of Harvard and Princeton. Yet Yale finished sixth in the final, beating only the Cornell crew rowing in an unusual seventh lane. (A swan had interfered with Cornell’s showing in the morning heats.) A surprise also awaited the Eli in the heats, when a strong Northeastern crew edged out the Blue, who made it into the grand final by less than a second. Northeastern took fourth place in the final behind Harvard, Brown, and Princeton.

The Crimson freshman heavyweight eight, undefeated all season, came second to Brown in the final, and the Harvard JV heavy boat finished fifth in their grand final. The Rowe Cup takes all three heavyweight finals into account.

The Harvard varsity’s time of 5:27.277 was only .27 seconds slower than the course record, thanks to superb rowing conditions at 5:30 p.m., when the race began.

It was Harvard’s thirty-fourth Rowe Cup overall; the Crimson captured its first in 1947.  The City of Worcester Bowl, awarded to the winner of the varsity heavyweight eights, will be retired, and replaced by a new trophy donated by the Friends of Harvard Rowing. The new Harry L. Parker Cup honors the late coach of Harvard’s heavyweight men’s crew, who headed the program for 51 years and died in 2013.

 

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