The freshman boats of the men’s heavyweight crew team stole the show on the Housatonic on Saturday.

The freshman eight topped Brown by a slim 1.59 seconds, while one of the two fours grabbed a 13.6-second victory. The second split-squad freshman boat came in third to a Brown boat and its Yale teammates.

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The varsity boats did not fare as well, coming in second in all three races. The top varsity boat fell to the Bears by 1.66 seconds, the second by 13.69 seconds and the third by 1.58 seconds.

With the upcoming trip to San Diego to compete in the San Diego Classic along with fellow Ivies Penn and Princeton and West Coast power U.C. Berkeley, among others, looming overhead, captain Jack Vogelsang ’08 said the second-place results were not disheartening.

“I was pleased with the results,” he said. “There are definitely some things we need to sharpen up, but I felt the race could have gone either way.”

The squad needs to focus on moving together better and practicing cleaner form, according to Vogelsang, but he said he remains positive about this past weekend’s regatta.

The Bears’ normally fast team and the choppy conditions outside the Gilder Boathouse in Derby presented Yale’s crews with a challenge Saturday. But the Bulldogs’ close races are positive indicators of the Elis this season, Vogelsang said.

“They’re always very fast this early in the year, and they’re going to bring a race every time they show up,” Vogelsang said of Brown. “I would have liked to have won, but I was pleased with the outcome. I think we showed great speed, and it’s right where I expected we would be this early in the year.”

“Brown was one of the best programs in the country last spring,” Yale head coach John Pescatore added. “This fall, they were again at the top. We knew they would be incredibly tough competitors on Saturday.”

After the Elis’ two-week jaunt to Florida for spring training and first-place finishes in each event at the 1,500-yard Mayor’s Cup Regatta in Tampa, the heavyweights came into the weekend eager to begin the spring season.

The varsity team will make a 3,000-mile trek to Southern California next weekend to participate in the San Diego Classic, the first time that any current rowers will participate in that regatta.

The Classic is one of the largest rowing events in the world and has been a crew establishment since the 1970s.