CAMDEN, N.J.—The Harvard lightweight crew seeks the perfect end to a flawless collegiate season as it rows for a national title in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships Saturday on the Cooper River.
The top-ranked lightweight varsity eight, which has won each of the last two Eastern titles and has not lost a dual regatta in three seasons, first races in Saturday morning's heats. Oarsmen from the freshman eight will form a lightweight four.
The lightweight eight event features a seeding heat at 7 a.m., followed by the 12:30 p.m. grand final. The lightweight four event has heats at 7:30 and 7:42 a.m. and a 12:15 grand final.
Both the heavyweight and lightweight varsity eights placed second—the lights by just one‑fiftieth of a second—as Harvard totaled six medals in its seven events at last season's IRA regatta. The lightweight four won IRA gold, while the heavyweight second varsity eight joined the two varsities as silver medalists.
Yale edged the Crimson lightweights for the national title in a time of 5:39.904 to Harvard's 5:39.926, with Dartmouth less than two seconds back. Harvard's lightweight four finished more than four seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
In the four IRA events in which Harvard regularly competes during the season (heavy varsity, second varsity and freshman eights; light varsity eight), Harvard's boats own a combined 32-0 dual-racing record and added four medals, two gold and two silver, at Sprints.
Not Done Yet
The IRA regatta marks the end of Harvard's collegiate season, but both the Crimson heavyweight and lightweight teams will send boats to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta June 27-July 1 in Henley-on-Thames, England. Harvard's heavyweight four captured the Prince Albert Cup last year at Henley.
Three of Harvard's nine official heavyweight national championships have come at the IRA regatta: 2003, '04 and '05. The Crimson lightweights have won seven IRA titles. The only schools to sweep the heavy and light races are Harvard (2003) and Princeton (1998).
Lightweight IRA History
The lightweights have been rowing at the IRA Regatta since 1990, when the event became the national championship for lightweight crew. Prior to competing at IRAs, the Crimson competed at the Empire State Regatta for the national title.
Harvard has won seven national titles since 1990 with the most recent coming in 2003. The Crimson also captured IRA national titles in 1991, '93, '95, '97, '99 and 2001 and has medaled in five of the last six years.