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Heavyweight Crews Row Past Coast Guard to Cement Good Start

By Dan Dunn
Team Member

The MIT men's heavyweight crew teams are off to their best start in recent memory. They continued their winning ways last weekend. On Sunday, the varsity boat won an extraordinary race with Coast Guard by 1.6 seconds with a time of 6:29.2.

Coast Guard got off to a fast start. With 600 meters of the 2,000 meter race gone they had a lead of more than a boat length over MIT. In an ordinary race, a boat that far ahead that early would win easily.

But 850 meters into the race MIT called a "power 20." In a power 20, every oarsman applies all of the power he has, regardless of pacing, in an effort to move the boat closer to the opponent.

On this power 20, MIT moved up five or six seats on Coast Guard. A few strokes later, MIT called another power 20. This time they pulled past Coast Guard and into the lead. They held the lead through the remainder of the race, and won by a margin of a half of a boat length. "We rowed the race we wanted to," said Neeraj Gupta '94, the coxswain. "A smooth 1,000 meters to start, and then just pull through them to the finish."

The second varsity team also won, and by a larger margin. MIT pulled ahead on the start, then built on the lead through the first 1,000 meters. They held on for a finishing time of 6:44.3, 4.8 seconds ahead of Coast Guard.

The first freshman boat raced Coast Guard and Boston College. MIT had a good start and pulled a half-length lead over both boats. Boston College could not hold on and fell back throughout the race, but Coast Guard gradually pulled on MIT until they had the lead with 500 meters to go. MIT pulled away on the final sprint, winning by 2.5 seconds over Coast Guard and 7 seconds over BC.

Saturday's races were in Worcester on Lake Quinsigamond. MIT's first boat beat Williams and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, but lost an unfortunate race to Connecticut College.

The second varsity, however, beat both Williams and Connecticut College. The lead changed hands several times in this close race. Williams jumped the start before the command, but it turned out not to matter, as they fell further and further back through the race.

MIT and Connecticut traded the lead back and forth. First one would call a power 10 and gain a seat, and then the other would call a power and win it back.

The telling moment came very late in the race with about 40 strokes left until the finish line. "We started our sprint and just started to gain on them," said Jed Macosko '94. The sprint took MIT into the lead and gave them a 1.4 second victory over Connecticut.

The first freshman boat also won its race. MIT pulled ahead at the start and steadily moved past Williams, WPI, and Connecticut, finishing one-and-a-half boat lengths over the closest contender.

The second freshman boat did not have competitors from Williams or Connecticut, but soundly defeated the WPI heavyweight boat.

The varsity's record is now 4-1. The second boat is 3-1, while the freshmen have an excellent mark of 6-0. This is by far MIT's best start in recent history.

Today MIT races the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. Tomorrow, the Compton Cup, a race between MIT, Harvard, and Princeton, will be held on the Charles River. Harvard should prove tough competition: their crew team is ranked first in the country, having won a major meet in San Diego two weeks ago.