It should be victory number two for the Heavyweight varsity crew Saturday afternoon when it faces Princeton, M.I.T., Dartmouth, and B.U. in its second and last appearance on the Charles River this year. Even the normally cautious coach, Harvey Love, declared his crew the favorite to retain the Compton Cup tomorrow.
Princeton was thrashed last weekend by a strong Pennsylvania eight and the week before finished a length behind Navy in a mile and three quarter race. With only three men back from last year's boat this seems to be a rebuilding year for a young Tiger shell which so far has not demonstrated much ferocity.
Indeed M.I.T. may prove to be the main opposition for the Crimson eight. Although finding themselves three lengths behind the varsity last Saturday the Tech shell had only one day rowing together and should therefore show considerable improvement tomorrow after greater practice together. One might note that Tech has never beaten the Crimson varsity heavyweights on the Charles course.
Neither Dartmouth nor B.U. are eligible for the Compton Cup, but they are not expected to offer much excitement either. B. U. finished far behind last Saturday and, based on the close Dartmouth victory over the Crimson in the third varsity race and the similarity of their crews, the Indians will cross the finish line near B.U.
After the unexpectedly easy victory over Syracuse, Coach Love has been concerned that the crew continue to progress and not sit back this week, for the race next weekend with Pennsylvania will certainly demand the maximum effort possible. Main emphasis, therefore, has been on increasing the strength of the shell. "The big thing now, once we have attained the rate of speed and striking for racing, is to toughen up as the weeks go by," Love said.
With this aim in mind no time trial was run this week, for as Love remarked, "They don't need to learn how to race." Instead, after hinderance by poor weather Monday and Tuesday, the varsity had a very encouraging practice Wednesday, rowing short stretches. On one three-quarter of a mile piece the varsity opened up half a length of water over the J.V. shell.
Love stated that changes in the line-up are still possible, although he had not made any at last report. While several of the oarsmen's bladework and timing remain quite rough, Love evidently intends to let the faults slowly work themselves out.
This year's crew is not as quick or as light feeling as last year's but most observers agree that it has more strength. According to captain T. Swayze, "It is faster than last year's shell and it has more potential." Once this boat settles into a solid boat, as it did Wednesday in practice, it produces a swing and drive which is beautiful in its fierce intensity.
The Crimson second boat has shown improvement during the week and is expected to have little trouble winning.
However, the Tiger freshman boat will provide a rough race for Coach Bill Leavitt's eight. Averaging 6 ft. 2 in. and 185 lbs. the Tiger cubs beat a good Navy crew by almost two lengths a fortnight ago and then went on to beat Pennsylvania and Columbia last Saturday. The Crimson boat, which won an easy race from Syracuse in its only contest to date, is not small either, and should handle itself well under the pressure of a close race.
The third varsity and third freshman boats will also race in the regatta. Beaten by Dartmouth by about three seconds over a Henley course at Hanover last Saturday the varsity boat is looking for revenge in this encounter.
The races will be rowed in conjunction with the lightweight regatta at half hour intervals on the mile and three quarters course over the Charles River Basin, finishing just below the M.I.T. boathouse. Times of the heavyweight races are: third freshmen, 9 a.m.; third varsity, 2:45 p.m.; first freshmen, 5 p.m. J.V., 5:30; varsity, 6 p.m.
Despite the unchallenging calibre of the opposition, tomorrow's regatta should be an exciting event, as it provides the last opportunity to see what may become one of the finest Crimson heavyweight crews.