SAN DIEGO—The Harvard heavyweight varsity and second varsity eights won their heats Saturday morning at the San Diego Crew Classic, defeating Cornell in each race as part of a five-race sweep of the Big Red in two regattas held on opposite coasts.
Both Crimson boats competing in San Diego advanced to Sunday's grand finals. The varsity will race for the Copley Cup at 9:40 a.m. Pacific time, and the second varsity will compete for the Sharp Cabrillo Cup at 10.
"I was really pleased," said Harry Parker, the Thomas Bolles Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew. "Both crews rowed well. They felt good about their races, and they feel good as they prepare to race tomorrow. It was a great first day of the season."
Both crews qualified by comfortable margins on the calm waters of Mission Bay. The varsity finished nearly a boat length ahead of runner-up Navy and defeated third-place Cornell for its first dual win of the season. The second varsity pulled away to an open-water win in a seven-boat field, with the Big Red finishing second. Earlier, in Ithaca, N.Y., the Harvard third varsity, freshman and second freshman eights also beat the Big Red.
"We were lucky with good conditions today," Parker said. "We may not be as lucky tomorrow. There could be a strong headwind, and that would be a real challenge."
In the varsity heat, all five crews were tightly packed off the line, but the Crimson quickly established a two-seat lead. Harvard doubled that margin by the end of the opening 500 meters and lengthened its lead over the next 1,000. Navy maintained overlap on the Crimson into the final 500 but could not gain ground before the finish. Harvard won by 2.4 seconds in 5:55.043.
Cornell finished third, more than six seconds behind the Crimson, to claim the final spot in the grand final from the first heat. California won the second heat in 5:57.736, advancing to the grand final along with Stanford and Michigan.
Harvard and Cornell pulled away to an open-water advantage on the rest of the field almost immediately in their second varsity heat. The Crimson led the Big Red by three seats through 500 meters and gradually stretched the margin to open water by the final 500. Harvard posted a winning time of 5:58.70, topping Cornell by 5.7 seconds. UC Davis edged UC San Diego for the other qualifying spot for the grand final. The A and B entries from Cal advanced from the first heat, as did Stanford.
Back at Cornell, the third varsity eight posted a 12.8-second win against the Big Red in 6:09.8. The first freshman boat won by 2.9 seconds with its time of 6:03.7, and the second freshmen by 6.6 in 6:18.4.
San Diego Crew Classic
British Columbia 6:06.978
UC San Diego 6:14.588
Second Varsity Eight
California A 6:00.26
California B 6:10.58
UC Santa Barbara 6:24.72
Washington State 6:39.93
Santa Clara 6:41.57
UC Davis 6:27.51
UC San Diego 6:27.80
San Diego 6:35.05
Orange Coast 6:46.14
Harvard at Cornell
Third Varsity Eight
Second Freshman Eight