The No. 6 men’s crew team lost four of five races against No. 5 Harvard Saturday afternoon at the Hunter S. Marston Boathouse, including the Varsity Eight, which determined the winner of the 56th Stein Cup, an annual heavyweight race with the Bears and the Crimson.
Bruno’s sole victory came in the second varsity race. The Stein Cup and fifth varsity races were also remarkably close, with the teams only separated by 4.3 and 2.4 seconds in the two races, respectively. The tight margins made for dramatic finishes as the rowers came down the final stretch.
The team “showed a lot of promise,” said rower Henry Hollingsworth ’22. “We were kind of let down by a few of the results, especially in the varsity race, but the 2V race we were able to win, which we were really happy with.”
The rowers had to battle through harsh weather conditions throughout the day. Strong winds delayed the start of the regatta from 1:30 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. The weather also prompted changes to the race schedule, with the Stein Cup being pushed to second when conditions had improved.
The effect of these conditions on both teams was apparent in the final times. Neither team completed a race in under 6:40, whereas in Brown’s previous match against No. 1 Yale on a course of the same length, all but one boat had times under six minutes.
“You just get tired a lot more easily,” said Ben Olsen ’22, who was on the winning boat in the second varsity race. “If we can just hold our technique a little bit better in those conditions, I think we have a better chance of winning races.”
“In most of the races, it came down to who handled the conditions better,” said Head Coach Paul Cooke. “In the varsity race, for example … they were good at taking long, powerful strokes in the wind.”
Despite the disappointing results, Cooke emphasized the positives he saw in the team’s performance. “Our guys really fought back well,” he said. “The stubbornness of the varsity in their race, the victory in the second varsity race and the energy of the team overall” were welcome sights, he added.
The regatta also marked the Bears’ home opener for the season. By the finish line near the Narragansett Boat Club, packs of Brown fans — as well as a few Harvard supporters — lined the shore of the Seekonk River, cheering as the boats approached. Some Bears fans even brought posters for specific players.
“It was great to see so many people on the shore,” Cooke said. To “have … Brown students cheering for Brown students, that was awesome.”
The energy of the crowd helped motivate the team, according to Olsen. In “a lot of races, you come into the last 500 meters where they put the fans, and you don’t really hear anything,” he said following the regatta. “But today out there, it was a lot of fun. You could just see everybody cheering (and) they sort of get you through the line.”
Following the regatta against Harvard, the men's crew team will face off against Northeastern University on Saturday, with their next home matchup coming April 23 against Dartmouth.