Steve Conn

Last year, the championship race was close. This year, the Yale heavyweight crew cruised to a decisive victory.

The top Yale boat rowed to its second consecutive national championship on Sunday morning. While the Bulldogs beat second-place Washington by just 0.069 seconds in 2017, they crossed the line nearly three seconds before the Huskies at this weekend’s 2018 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta in Princeton, New Jersey.

Harvard — Yale’s opponent in next weekend’s season-ending race — finished third, behind the Bulldogs and Washington.

With bad weather expected later in the day, organizers moved the races earlier in the morning on Sunday. The rough conditions did not deter the Bulldogs, who earned head coach Steve Gladstone’s 13th IRA title. With this weekend’s win, Gladstone is just one title away from tying the record for most championships in collegiate rowing history, currently held by Charles Courtney, who coached Cornell a century ago.

Yale’s second and third eights also made the finals at the IRA National Championships. The second eight finished third, an improvement on last year’s fourth-place finish. The third Eli boat finished fourth on Mercer Lake.

While Yale’s top boat repeated as champions, Washington finished first in the team standings for the second consecutive year, scoring 211 points. The Bulldogs finished second as a team with 199 points.

The heavyweight crew is the second Yale team to win a national championship in the last week. The men’s lacrosse team captured its first-ever NCAA title last Monday.