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Men's Heavyweight Crew Continues Solid Season

By Neeraj Gupta and Dan Dunn
team members

The MIT heavyweight crew continued to build on their most successful season in recent years with a strong showing at the Schweppes' International Regatta in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

The first Tech boat placed a solid 7th out of 14 crews, winning Sunday's Third Finals in a time of 5:39.8, two seconds over Rutgers and 4.4 seconds over the hometown favorite Georgetown. MIT got off to a rocky start, but made up the lost ground in the first 500 meters. By 1,000 meters, the halfway point, MIT had a 4-seat lead over Rutgers as the Hoyas faded back. The last 1,000 meters were a shootout, with both crews pushing themselves to the limit, but MIT countered Rutgers stroke for stroke and went on to win.

The weather was a big factor in Saturday's qualifying rounds. Strong currents, wind, and rain made for less than ideal conditions and unfair lane advantages. Out of 21 qualifiers, the crew in the Lane 3 won 20 races while the crew in Lane 2 came in last 18 times. "We got really screwed by the lane draws, getting the death lane [Lane 2] for both of our heats. We [would have] had a real shot at beating some crews which finished higher than we did if it wasn't for the currents," commented oarsman John Van Houten '94. Nevertheless, MIT posted the second fastest time for Lane 2 and beat the University of New Hampshire to qualify for the Third Finals, missing a shot at the championship by a few seconds to Yale. Fortunately, the weather cleared up and was much less of a factor for the Sunday championship races.

MIT also entered two boats in the alumni event, one of which qualified for the championships. The alumni A boat, rowing their shell for the very first time, rowed the 1,000 meter race as if it was a sprint. In the tightest race of the weekend, MIT took a photo-finish third place by just 0.06 seconds to UNH.

Earlier in the week, varsity squared off against Tufts University at home early on Wednesday. The Tech boat leaped off the starting line, grabbing a 2-seat lead in the first five strokes. Tufts held strong for 600 meters when the MIT boat took off, taking a seat on every stroke. "They were in our lane and wouldn't move. Goop [Neeraj Gupta '94] called it up and we responded by walking right through them," explained stroke Tyler Worden '92. MIT had an open water lead by the 1,000 meter mark and cruised to an easy 8-second victory.

The rest of the heavyweight crews did not race Tufts until Sunday. The second varsity lost its race to the Tufts varsity lightweight crew, 6:32.4 to 6:41.3.

The first freshman crew returned to their winning ways (8-2 on the season) with their victory over Tufts. MIT had a good start, which they stretched to a boat-long lead at the 500 meter mark. At that point, however, Tufts refused to fall back any farther. Over the course of the race they repeatedly attempted to move back on the MIT boat, but without success. The margin at the finish was a little more than a boat length, 6:31.6 over Tufts' 6:36.2.

The second freshman boat also won their race on Sunday. This boat has labored over the season, and Tufts was their first win. Tufts took a big early lead, but the MIT boat rowed through them and won by a significant margin, 6:58.9 to 7:07.6. "I was most impressed with their race. They were down but kept on coming. I think this was the best race of the day." said Stu Schmill '86, the freshman coach.

MIT races Dartmouth and Wisconsin tomorrow on the Charles. This will be the heavies' final home race of the season.