LEONIA, N.J. -- Stung by a poor showing in last week's Childs Cup regatta against Princeton and Penn, the Columbia heavyweights rebounded Saturday in their first competition in Overpeck Park, rowing well against Yale and beating Penn in three events.
"This was a step in the right direction," head coach Mike Zimmer said.
That step was most evident in the varsity eights race for the Blackwell Cup. Zimmer's plans for his rowers was to be aggressive early, and they were exactly that, getting off to a good start on the 2000-meter Overpeck Lake course.
In fact, Columbia was looking very sharp in the first 700 meters. The Lions were leading Penn, and were working to hold off Yale.
By the halfway point, though, Yale drew level with Columbia. The Bulldogs chose the third 500 to make a big move. Unfortunately, Columbia was unable to respond, and relinquished first place. The Bulldogs rowed across the finish line in 5:48.2, more than a full length ahead of Columbia's 5:54.6, with Penn 2.7 seconds back in 5:57.3.
"We rowed better," Zimmer said, "but we made mistakes. We did some things well and other things poorly."
Columbia's freshman eight rowed a fine race -- "The best race they have had all season," Zimmer said -- in pressing Yale most of the way before losing to the Bulldogs by 4.3 seconds. Penn trailed the Lions by a sizable (6.3 seconds) margin.
Columbia didn't row in the Second Varsity Eights, which Yale won by 3.1 seconds over Penn, but the Lions captured a first in the Varsity Fours competition, finishing in 6:50.6 to beat two Penn fours by comfortable margins.
The Lions hit the road next week to meet Syracuse and Boston University on the Charles River for the Doc Lusins Trophy.

Following the regatta, a large crowd gathered on a bluff overlooking the picturesque course to witness the christening of two heavyweight pairs, the Bartlett Brebner and the Coach Walter "Bud" Raney. They were the gifts of Harry Scheiber '55CC and his wife Jane. The gift of the shells was accomplished largely through the efforts of head lightweight coach Scott Alwin, in conjunction with the Scheibers.
Harry Scheiber, a long-time law and history professor at UC Berkeley, credited Bartlett Brebner with inspiring him to go into the academic history field. Brebner was a Columbia professor from 1925 to 1957; he is one of the founders of the University's famed Core Curriculum.
He earned three degrees from Britain's Oxford and Cambridge universities, and his doctorate from Columbia. In addition to his professorial duties, he served as an advisor to the U.S. government.
Professor Scheiber rowed for the Lions, primarily in the second freshman boat. His teammate, Bob Hanson, spoke about Walter "Bud" Raney, a Columbia coach from 1947 to 1957.
Raney was a 1935 University of Washington graduate who remained there to coach the freshman eights. He led UW freshman eights to three gold medals at the national championships in Poughkeepsie.
During World War II, Raney commanded ships in the Navy, reaching the rank of lieutenant commander. After the war, he joined the Columbia staff, where he was, as Hanson recalled, "a great teacher. He was a man of integrity." Raney returned to Washington after completing his Columbia coaching stint, and later was a school principal in Seattle.
Harry Scheiber christened the Bartlett Brebner with the traditional Champagne, plus a container of water from the Harlem River, where Columbia used to compete. Bob Hanson did the honors for the Walter "Bud" Raney, assisted by Ken Bodenstein '57CC. Bob Loring '55CC, a teammate of Scheiber and Hanson, was unable to make the christening, but he was ably represented by his daughter, Susan Loring Crane '89CC, '92 Law, who served as the Finish Line Judge for the regatta.
The results of the Blackwell Cup regatta:

The Blackwell Cup
Columbia, Penn, Yale
April 14, 2012
Overpeck Lake, Leonia, N.J.

Varsity Eights

1. Yale, 5:48.2
2. Columbia, 5:54.6
3. Penn, 5:57.3

Second Varsity Eights
1. Yale, 6:01.3
2. Penn, 6:04.4

Freshman Eights
1. Yale, 6:03.3
2. Columbia, 6:07.6
3. Penn, 6:13.9

Varsity Fours
1. Columbia, 6:50.6
2. Penn A, 7:04.1
3. Penn B, 7:26.0

Today's Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Janelle Geddes, cox; Connor Jones, stroke; Charles Wu, 7; Mike Donohue, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Clemens Auersperg, 4; Ben Coombs, 3; Daniel Kolbe, 2; Noah Whitehead, bow

Freshman Eight
Alex Xu, cox; Sam Harris, stroke; Matt Ridgeway, 7; Buck Goggin, 6; James Glynn, 5; D.J. Dlesk, 4; Max Lindemann, 3; Connor Murphy, 2; Zach Ellenbogen, bow

Varsity Four
Andrew Lake, cox; Elliot Meade, stroke; John Clapp, 3; Ian Winthrop, 2; Ryan Jones, bow