"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
At 5:38 p.m., Harvard senior coxswain Jesse Oberst was sent airborne by crewmates into the Thames River. At the same time, a broom was run up the flag pole at Red Top, the Crimson training camp, signifying their dominance yesterday in the 139th Harvard-Yale Regatta, the nation's oldest intercollegiate sporting event.
Harvard's varsity crew rowed the 4-mile upstream course in 18 minutes, 42.1 seconds, missing the course record (Harvard's 18:41.9 in 1995) by 2/10ths of a second amid arduous, choppy water.
Harvard swept all three races - varsity, second varsity, freshmen - for the fourth straight season and the varsity crew has now posted back-to-back unbeaten campaigns, the first time Harvard has accomplished that feat since stringing together three straight from 1974-76.
The Harvard varsity is pictured above collecting the winners' spoils, the shirts off their rivals' backs.
NEW LONDON, Conn. -- All around Red Top, Harvard's expansive rowing headquarters by the Thames River, are reminders of what its alma mater calls "the age that is past." Framed photographs of unbeaten varsities, books filled with lore, names of oarsmen long dead scribbled inside the clothing cabinets at the dorms. For every Crimson varsity that arrives here at season's end, the challenge is unspoken but unmistakable: Where is your place among all this?
Now comes a crew that has set the school's sports information people to rummaging through the archives to find the last one with similar accomplishments: back-to-back national championships by open water, two Eastern Sprints titles (also by open water), 17 straight regular-season victories, all but four of them by open water.
Not since the "Rude and Smooth" era of the mid-'70s has there been a Crimson boat to match what this one has achieved, Saturday after Saturday. Yet the question remains: How good are these guys?
Good enough that they're heading for Switzerland next week on the way to next month's Henley Royal Regatta to pull on red-white-and-blue jerseys and compete against some of the world's best national boats (including the probable US Olympic eight) in the World Cup in Lucerne.
"They're curious to see," says coach Harry Parker, whose last crew to test the top international waters was the 1968 boat that made the Olympic final. "As are other people."