Even after all-time dominant success at the Eastern Sprints and the IRA championships, the legacy of this year’s Yale heavyweight crew season hung in the balance going into Saturday’s race against Harvard.
The Elis passed their final test with flying colors, sweeping the 152nd edition of the nation’s oldest collegiate sporting event. With the win, this year’s Bulldogs secured their legacy as perhaps the greatest crew in the school 150-plus-year history.
The Varsity Eight, which captured the national title over Washington last weekend, faced off against Harvard in a grueling four-mile race. The Elis faced a strong push by the Crimson that saw Harvard take an early, one-seat lead, but the Bulldogs took back the lead and would not renounce it, withstanding a variety of pushes over the course of the long race.
Yale eventually pulled away at about 16 minutes into the race and finished over five seconds ahead of the Crimson, coming in with a time of 18:56.1 to Harvard’s 19:01.4. The win helped wash away any lingering memories of last year’s Harvard-Yale regatta, which was officially ruled “no-contest” after the Crimson’s boat sank while the Blue was in the lead.
Yale’s Second and Third Varsity boats won by even more impressive margins. In the three-mile Second Varsity race, the Bulldogs finished more than nine seconds ahead of Harvard; In the two-mile Third Varsity race, the Elis finished slightly more than five seconds ahead of the Crimson.
The Bulldogs could not have drawn up a better finish to their season over the last two weekends. The IRA National Championship and sweep of Harvard represent achievements that will not soon be forgotten.