The Cochrane Cup was placed in competition by Mrs. Edward Cochrane in 1961 for heavyweight racing among Dartmouth, MIT, and Wisconsin. It honors her husband, Admiral Edward L. Cochrane, who was president of MIT as well as a director of the Navy's Bureau of Ships during World War II. The first two races were rowed 1 and 3/4 miles. The third race was rowed at 2 miles. Since then, the competition has been at the standard 2000 meter distance. In 1965, Boston University and Syracuse were added starters, and Rutgers raced in 1980.
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