Bulldogs Look To Stay Perfect in Regular Season
NEW LONDON, Conn.- The 149th Yale-Harvard regatta will take place this Saturday in New London, Conn. "The Race" will feature not only America's oldest college rivals, but also two boats who finished the dual-racing season undefeated and made their way to the grand final of both the Eastern Sprints and IRA National Championship.
The traditional regatta will commence on Friday with the two-mile combination race for the James P. Snider Cup, named in honor of the current Yale women's crew assistant coach who was an assistant coach for the heavyweights in the 1990's. The winner of the combo race earns the right to paint the rock near the finish line with its school colors before the varsity winner is decided the following day.
Saturday will feature the two-mile freshman/third varsity race at 2:45 p.m., for the New London Cup, as well as the three-mile junior varsity race at 3:30 p.m. for the F. Valentine Chappell Trophy. The day will climax with the four-mile varsity race for the Sexton Cup at 4:30 p.m. The contest between the varsity eights is in its 149th year as the oldest intercollegiate sporting event in the country and the longest rowing race in the Western hemisphere. The winner will receive the Sexton Cup and the right to paint the rock near the finish line with its school colors. The overall regatta champion also receives the Hoyt C. Pease and Robert Chappell, Jr. Trophy.
SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEKEND
Friday, June 6
5-6:30 p.m.- Regatta reception at Gales Ferry. Combo race.
Saturday, June 7
2:45 p.m.- Third Varsity
3:30 p.m.- Second Varsity
4:30 p.m.- Varsity
Times are subject to change.
THE TURNING TIDE
For the first time in recent history, the majority of Yale's varsity crew will be both underclassmen and will have already experienced the four-miler. The rowers who have come to Yale under Coach Steve Gladstone's recruitment are beginning to outnumber those who predate his leadership, and have been taking spots in the top boats. This year, the varsity squad went undefeated in its dual-season for the first time since 2007 and saw the most success in championship regattas it has seen since 2006. On the other side of the equation, things are changing as well. Coach Charley Butt leads the Harvard cohort this year, his first year at the helm of the Crimson. Butt was given the job after the rowing world lost a true giant in Harvard's previous coach, Harry Parker, who passed away last June.
The varsity race on Saturday promises tight competition, as both crews have defeated all of their Ivy League peers and progressed to the grand finals of America's largest rowing championships. The Bulldogs will be looking to snap Harvard's six-year winning streak.
THE TRADITION CONTINUES
Sports Illustrated named this event the most venerable rivalry in college sports, and its history predates the great football rivalry between the schools by 23 years. Crews from Yale and Harvard first met on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire on Aug. 3, 1852, the first intercollegiate athletic competition of any kind in the United States. Harvard won that first meeting and has built a 95-54 lead in the series. Harvard's junior varsity holds a 76-37 edge, while its freshmen are 72-39-1 against Yale.
FROM THE BULLDOGS
"It's a relatively young boat, so a lot of guys were in the four-miler last year and have experience with the race, so we're all looking forward to it." –Captain Zachary Johnson, '14
"The time up at the training compounds at Gales Ferry really is the greatest part of the year. It really creates this cool atmosphere. We are extending the long blue lines that is Yale crew and that's pretty neat."- Grant Olscamp, '14
""You see the guys [from past crews in pictures] on the walls, and it's that so many have done it before us, so seeing them come back and give speeches about how special it was to have both a place and a race that really mean something to us."- Owen Symington, '14
"We learnt some valuable lessons down at Mercer [at IRAs] over the weekend as a crew. Saturday represents an opportunity to put those lessons into practice over the four-mile course. Really looking forward to lining up under the bridge on Saturday." Simon Keenan, '15
"We're excited to race Harvard on Saturday. We have been having a good week of training back at the Ferry and are looking forward to being tested against them over four miles. It will be a challenging race as we strive for victory and the opportunity to paint the rock blue. This is the big race we have been training for all year so we are excited and ready to go."- David DeVries, '16
"Progresses in boat speed were made throughout the IRA regatta. Our JV unit has really gelled and we will be looking to build off recent racing to execute our best race this season. There's going to be a lot of tension out there on the water."- Adam Smith, '16
THE 148TH REGATTA
The matchup between Harvard and Yale heavyweight crews brought the usual test of endurance to the waters of New London's Thames River last year. In the four-miler, Harvard's first varsity finished with a time of 21:17.6 and Yale came across in 21:41.3. The second varsity eight raced over three miles and saw less separation between Harvard and Yale crews; Harvard clocked in at 16:24.6, six seconds ahead of Yale's 16:30.9. In what was traditionally the freshman race, the Harvard freshmen raced Yale's third varsity. The Harvard freshman completed the two-mile course in 10:29.5 and Yale's third varsity finished in 11:00.8. The previous day, the teams boated combination fours, with Harvard's A boat finishing with a time of 11:55.0, Yale's entry 11:58.6, and Harvard's B boat 12:03.6.
VARSITY 8 FINISHES SIXTH AT IRAs
The Yale heavyweight crew team closed out the weekend at the 112th IRA National Championships with its best finish in recent memory and first appearance in the grand final since 2006. Harvard came in fifth, right in front of the Bulldogs. The second varsity finished in 10th and the third varsity finished in eighth place.
HEAD COACH STEVE GLADSTONE
Regarded as one of the premier rowing coaches in the United States, Steve Gladstone is in his fourth year at the helm of Yale's heavyweight crew. Gladstone led the University of California men's crew program to six IRA championships during two coaching stints with the Golden Bears and also served as the director of rowing operations at Brown where he won four Eastern Sprints titles. Most recently he was a director at the California Rowing Club, helping develop postgraduate oarsmen for the U.S. National Team.
Gladstone's 11 IRA championships tie him with Charles "Pop" Courtney of Cornell (1901-15) for the most varsity eight titles in the history of collegiate rowing. In all, Gladstone's Cal crews medaled at the IRA regatta 11 times in his 12 seasons since 1997 – five gold and six bronze – an unprecedented achievement in the 113-year history of the championship. Over that same period, he directed Cal to seven of 12 Pac-10 championships. During his first term at Cal from 1973-80, Gladstone guided the Bears to three undefeated dual-race seasons, an IRA title in 1976 and a Pac-10 championship in 1979.
As the director of rowing operations at Brown from 1981-94, Gladstone's crew triumphed four times at the Eastern Sprints, five times at the IRA regatta and twice at the National Collegiate Rowing Championships.
He returned to Cal in 1997, taking over a program that finished as high as third at IRAs just once since his 1980 departure. The Bears saw immediate success, capturing a bronze medal at the national regatta in 1997 and running off a string of four consecutive championships from 1999-2002. From 2001-04, Gladstone added the director of athletics role to his duties at Cal, overseeing a department that placed ninth in the Directors' Cup for overall excellence in 2003 and 2004 and won five national team championships.
Gladstone began his coaching career in 1966 as freshman coach at Princeton for three years. He then took over as varsity lightweight coach at Harvard, leading the Crimson to four straight undefeated seasons, four titles at the Eastern Sprints and victories in the 1971 Thames Challenge Cup and Wyfold Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. During his tenure at Harvard, he served as the U.S. National team coach (1969 and 1973) and was a selector for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team.
A 1964 Syracuse graduate, Gladstone has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen and has also been a member of the Men's Olympic Rowing Committee. In 1984, he served as ABC's analyst for rowing events at the Los Angeles Olympics. He worked in the same capacity for NBC at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.
ROWING ON THE RADIO
For those who cannot make it to New London this weekend, a live broadcast of the regatta will be available on WKNL Kool 101 (100.9 FM). Charlie Hamlin (Harvard '70) and Yale lightweight coach Andy Card will provide commentary.
For more than 100 years Yale has maintained its New London camp at Gales Ferry in preparation for the Regatta. The facility is owned and operated by the Yale heavyweight crew. Traditionally, after final exams, the rowers began a training camp at Gales Ferry in preparation for the four-mile marathon. The varsity house was originally constructed in the late 18th century as a private home, and the boathouse was designed by James Gamble Rogers, the architect who designed much of Yale's New Haven campus.
WHERE TO WATCH
The Thames River will be closed to traffic on race day about 30 minutes before the first event. Spectator boats may anchor along, but clear of, the race course. Spectators on shore can watch the action from various points along the river, including near the finish line at Bartlett's Cove. If you can not make the race, live video will be available.
OUT ON THE TOWN
Residents have put up Yale oars and signs, and a power plant on the river hangs a large "Go Yale" banner. The town, which is impartial, has installed signs at both ends of Route 12. One reads, "Welcome to Gales Ferry, Home of the Yale-Harvard Regatta" in blue, while the other reads, "Home of the Harvard-Yale Regatta" in red. Neighbors to the Yale camp have been known to re-paint the rock at Bartlett's Cove Yale blue after the race each year.
Zachary Johnson is the 171st captain of the Yale heavyweight crew team. Hailing from the west coast, Johnson calls Ross, Calif., his hometown. He is a recent graduate of Yale's Davenport College with a major in history. Before coming to Yale Johnson rowed for the Marin Rowing Association, where he stroked the varsity eight to a gold medal at the 2010 San Diego Crew Classic and a silver medal at Youth Nationals his senior year. That summer he also stroked the 2010 U.S. Junior National Team eight to a gold medal at Junior Worlds.
In his freshman year at Yale Johnson stroked the freshman eight. As a sophomore he sat four-seat in the varsity for the majority of the spring, then stroked the first boat at IRAs and against Harvard.
His junior year Johnson rowed in the varsity that beat Dartmouth for the Olympic Axe and beat Columbia and Penn to win the Blackwell Cup, and that finished fifth at Eastern Sprints and seventh at the IRA Championship Regatta.
Report filed by Ari Zimmet '16, Yale Sports Publicity