Members of the Harvard second varsity eight in Thursday morning's heat, advancing easily to Friday's semifinal.
CAMDEN, N.J. —All five Harvard heavyweight boats were among the top three finishers in their heats and four advanced to the semifinals on the first day of racing at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships Thursday on the Cooper River.
The Crimson varsity and freshman eights won their heats. They and the second varsity eight and open four moved on to the semifinals. The varsity four will race in Saturday's third-level final.
In the varsity eight's first two-kilometer race since training for the four-mile Harvard-Yale race, the Crimson outlasted Columbia and Princeton for first place. The margin was tight throughout, with Harvard going up by two seats in the first 600 meters. The Tigers caught up, but Harvard gained about three seats around the 1,000-meter mark. The Lions then surged ahead in the third 500.
Princeton came back and was right with Harvard, but the Crimson edged its way to the line first and Columbia got through the Tigers. Harvard's winning time of 5:34.615 was about two-fifths of a second faster than the Lions, who edged Princeton by another two-fifths for the heat's final direct semifinal berth. The other crews going straight to the semis were heat winners California and Washington and runners-up Yale and Dartmouth.
The second varsity and freshman eights advanced by more comfortable margins, but the racing remained tight for the top spots. In the second varsity heat, top-seeded Washington took control early and won by more than five seconds. Princeton and Harvard battled for second through the first half of the race, but the Crimson pulled away to finish 3.5 seconds ahead of the Tigers in 5:46.657. Princeton crossed about 14 seconds ahead of Columbia to move on to the semifinal.
Cornell was hot on the heels of Harvard throughout the freshman heat, but the Crimson hung on by 1.2 seconds in 5:44.548. Both the Crimson and Big Red advanced to the semifinals.
In Harvard's heat of the open four, Wisconsin gained open water on the field in the first half of the race as the Crimson battled Boston University for second. As the race wore on, the Crimson pulled away from the Terriers and gained ground on the Badgers. Harvard finished in 6:33.067, 3.2 seconds behind Wisconsin and more than 12 ahead of third-place, semifinal-bound BU.
The Crimson varsity four was in sixth place in the early stages of its heat but quickly passed Navy and then Brown. Cal had opened a lead on the field early, with George Washington in second place, but Harvard and Stanford moved through the field. The Cardinal passed the Golden Bears to win the heat, but Cal was able to hold off the Crimson for the final direct semi berth. Harvard posted a time of 6:26.342, about 2.4 seconds behind Cal.
Harvard tried to come from behind again in the varsity four repechage. The Crimson was fourth for much of the race and surged to catch the leaders in the second half but finished less than a second behind third-place Penn in 6:26.103.
Boston University 5:36.665
Second Varsity Eight
George Washington 6:32.268
George Washington 6:23.169
Saint Joseph's 6:45.694
Boston University 6:45.428