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Harvard Wins First-Ever Meeting Between Rowing’s Top Four

April 13, 1996

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) _ A different continent, borrowed boats, a historical race.

Nothing stopped Cambridge from winning the top race Saturday in a regatta featuring Yale, Harvard and Oxford for the first-meeting ever between the four schools. But, Harvard edged the Light Blues for the cup by winning five of eight races.

``It’s great to get some international competition,″ said Harvard’s Matthew Emans.

Cambridge and Oxford are famous for ``The Boat Race,″ which they’ve held in England since 1829. Yale and Harvard started ``The Race″ in the United States in 1853.

But the four schools had never competed against each other in one place until Saturday. The regatta was organized by Richard Fishlock, an Oxford rower who competed for Great Britain at the 1960 Olympics, as a preview of Lake Lanier, the rowing venue for the 1996 Olympic Games.

``I think it’s good to use it right before the Olympics,″ said Oxford coach Daniel Topolski. ``Having it here gives the people a chance to practice their cheering and get used to rowing.″

Harvard won the regatta’s Victor Ludorum cup with 28 points by winning the heavyweight men’s 500, the lightweight men’s 200 meter sprint and 2,000 meters and the men’s masters 500 sprint and 1,000 meters. Cambridge was second with 24, Yale finished third (15) and Oxford last with 12 points.

Several of the Harvard rowers would like to see the race continue as an annual event.

``It’s really great,″ Jonathan Kibara of Harvard’s lightweight men’s crew. ``Nothing would be better than that.

Cambridge took the 2,000 meter heavyweight men’s race by just a couple feet, edging Harvard by less than three seconds with a time of 5 minutes, 48.6 seconds to 5:51.2.

The Light Blues arrived in the United States Monday, two days after beating Oxford for the fourth straight time in The Boat Race. Cambridge, with American Greg Ayer of Greenwich, Conn., now leads the series 73-68.

``It is difficult coming over and giving a really top performance,″ said Topolski, who added he thought the event was more of an exhibition.

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