CAMDEN, N.J.—Four Harvard heavyweight boats qualified for national grand finals with top-three finishes on the second day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships Friday on the Cooper River.
With rowing made tough by a strong cross-headwind, the varsity and second varsity eights placed second in their semifinals, while the freshman eight took third in its semifinal and the open four won its repechage. The open four will be the first crew up Saturday, racing in its grand final at 8:40 a.m. The varsity eight grand will be at 11:45 a.m.
"I thought we did OK overall," said Harry Parker, the Thomas Bolles Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew. "The second varsity raced really well after having a good race yesterday. Our open four did a very good job this morning, and I think they should be competitive in the final."
The first varsity eight semifinal featured the top two finishers from Eastern Sprints, Harvard and Brown, and those two teams took the top two qualifying positions. The Bears got out to an early three-seat lead and extended the margin to seven seats midway through the race. As Syracuse moved level with Princeton for the third grand final spot, the Crimson made a move of its own to put a boat length between itself and those crews.
Harvard finished in 6:22.500, topping the third-place Orange by 2.4 seconds. Washington, Boston University and California advanced from the second varsity semifinal.
"The conditions were very challenging, but I think the varsity can row better," Parker said. "We're looking forward to tomorrow."
The Washington second varsity built a length lead on second-place Harvard in the first 700 meters of their semifinal. The Crimson raced neck and neck with Navy in the first half of the race, but Harvard pulled away. Stanford passed Navy after 1,000 meters, but the Crimson countered the Cardinal's move and went on to finish 5.4 seconds ahead of Stanford in 6:17.159. The Huskies won in 6:12.548.
Harvard raced in third place throughout its freshman eight semifinal. Washington and Northeastern took over the top two places early, and the Crimson was a length down to NU after 1,000 meters. Fourth-place Wisconsin looked to challenge in the second half of the race, but Harvard held off the Badgers by 2.4 seconds to move on with a qualifying time of 6:12.133.
The open four began the morning with a repechage win. The Crimson finished 3.6 seconds ahead of second-place Brown. Its time of 7:06.890 was less than a half-second off the pace of Wisconsin, which won the other repechage.
The varsity four placed sixth in its semifinal in 7:33.129 and will race in Saturday's petite final. A threatening storm forced a weather delay of nearly two hours between the fours and eights racing.
Boston University 6:19.018
Second Varsity Eight
Boston University 6:40.172
Boston University 6:20.389
Boston University 7:31.919
Holy Cross 7:24.775