GALES FERRY, Conn. - The Harvard heavyweight crews continued to make coach Harry Parker’s golden anniversary season a special one as the Crimson swept Yale Saturday in the 147th rowing of “The Race.’’
Harvard took the freshman, second varsity, and varsity races all by open water on the Thames River to deliver Parker his 22d perfect dual regatta season in his 50 years as head coach. The win by the Crimson varsity gave Harvard an 8-0 record in dual races this season.
In nearly perfect water conditions and with a light rain beginning to fall at the start of the varsity race, Harvard started quickly, pulling out to a deck-length lead after the first 100 meters.
“We knew Yale would be aggressive early,’’ coxswain David Fuller said after the traditional toss into the river. “We matched them well and kept our intensity throughout the race.’’
Harvard pushed the lead to a length at the mile mark of the 4-mile race. That margin remained until Harvard picked up the pace in the third half-mile and surged to a length of open water. Yale was able to match through the next mile, but Harvard again moved and opened a 3-length lead with under a mile and a half remaining.
The Crimson cruised through the final half-mile, crossing the finish line in 19 minutes 41.3 seconds. Yale finished in 19:51.2.
The win for Harvard’s varsity was the fifth straight and the 12th in the last 13 races in the series, a fact not lost on Harvard senior captain Mike DiSanto.
“It seems that Harry just has their number,’’ DiSanto said. “We wanted to win this one for him.’’
A bizarre freshman race led off the day as the rowing had to be stopped with just under a half-mile remaining because of a wake caused by a Coast Guard auxiliary boat that resulted in unsafe conditions in the 2-mile event.
“The freshman race was a good race,’’ Parker said. “It was terrible what the Coast Guard boat did. I don’t know what they were thinking.’’
After the race was stopped and the wake abated, the race was restarted with approximately 600 meters remaining and Harvard ahead by a length. Yale went into an immediate sprint on the restart, but Harvard fended off the challenge, winning in 10:25.6.
The second varsity race was all Harvard as the Crimson dominated the 3-mile race, winning in 14:55.5, nearly 32 seconds ahead of the Bulldogs.
“It was a very good day, I was quite pleased,’’ Parker said. “These guys are good rowers every time they go to the line. It was a very solid, very good effort.’’
Harvard must now switch gears to prepare for next weekend’s Intercollegiate Rowing Association national championship regatta on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. Harvard is hoping for another shot at Brown, the team that gave the Crimson their only blemish in 2012 with a fraction-of-a-second win in the Grand Finals of the EARC Sprints two weeks ago.
“It’s always a challenge to go from training for this race back to a 2,000-meter race,’’ Parker said. “We won’t do much different as far as training is concerned. We’ll try to rest up a bit.’’
DiSanto feels his crew is ready.
“It’s been on our minds all year,’’ the senior 7-seat said. “Harry has told us that you can’t lose sight of the races before the IRA or you’re susceptible to a loss. This week it can have our full focus.’’
Harvard holds a 93-54 lead in the all-time series with Yale, and Parker’s boats have a 43-7 record against the Bulldogs.