GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Opening postseason play this weekend, the No. 3 men's heavyweight crew advanced all four of its boats to the semifinals after day one of the 2019 IRA National Championships on Lake Natoma today, May 31. All three of the Crimson's varsity eight boats earned first-place finishes in their respective heats, as each qualified for the semifinals. Harvard's varsity fours finished fifth.
Entering competition as the No. 4 seed overall and top seed in its heat, Harvard's varsity eight earned a first-place finish over Brown, Navy, George Washington, Colgate and Drexel. The Crimson clocked in at 5:40.4, three seconds ahead of second-place Brown. Coming out of the gates fast, Harvard built a strong lead from the start at the beginning 500m. The Crimson maintained its lead throughout to secure a spot in the semifinals.
Following in similar fashion, Harvard's second varsity eight boat tallied a first-place finish in its heat. The Crimson faced Dartmouth, Syracuse, Columbia, Oregon State and Santa Clara in its first race, clocking in at 5:47.3. After a strong start through the first 500m, Harvard continued to excel through the reminder of the race, finishing 2.39 seconds ahead of second-place Dartmouth.
Harvard's third varsity eight posted a first-place finish in its heat as well. Racing against California, Wisconsin and Cornell, the Crimson crossed the finish line with a time of 5:47.8. After a strong closing 500m, Harvard pushed past second-place California to earn the victory by 1.84 seconds.
Closing out competition, Harvard's varsity fours placed fifth in its heat against Washington, Holy Cross, Wisconsin and Oklahoma City. The Crimson clocked in at 6:56.0 in its first race of the day. Racing again in a repechage heat, Harvard placed second amongst MIT, Cornell and Drexel. Crosing the finish line three seconds behind MIT at 6:40.4, the Crimson earned a spot in the semifinals tomorrow.
All four of Harvard's boats will advance to the semifinals tomorrow, June 1.