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Vol. LXII, No. 15
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
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Princeton Women’s Open Crew Starts 4-0 but Has Plenty of Room for Improvement

Bill Alden

Two weekends ago, the Princeton University women’s open crew varsity boat opened its spring season by topping No. 3 Brown and Michigan State on Lake Carnegie.

Last Saturday, Princeton’s top boat built on its opening day heroics by cruising to a win over Columbia and Rutgers.

While Princeton has climbed to No. 5 in the national rankings, longtime Tiger head coach Lori Dauphiny isn’t getting carried away by her crew’s solid start.

“It is a young group with a small senior class,” said Dauphiny, who guided the Tigers to the NCAA title in 2006 and is in her 12th year at the helm of the Princeton open program.

“I was pleased with the result in the first race but I remain cautious and conservative about this group. I thought we made progress last weekend.”

The driving force in Princeton’s progress this spring has been senior captain Kristin Haraldsdottir, the last rower remaining from the undefeated 2006 boat.

“Kristin is definitely a powerful presence; she leads by example,” asserted Dauphiny of the Rochester, Minn. native.

“She pushes the team; she has been our best performer by far. She sets the bar high; she sits in the stroke seat so she is even more visible. I’m hoping she will rub off on the younger rowers.”

Dauphiny believes she has some young rowers with talent.

“Lauren Wilkinson a freshman from Canada, she was a single sculler who represented Canada in the junior worlds last year in China,” said Dauphiny, who has also been using freshmen Michaela Strand and Emily Reynolds in her top boat.

“She is a good kid; she has plenty to learn but she has been really improving.”

The key to Princeton’s improvement this season may come down to a trio of juniors, Annie Gayman, Michelle King, and Alison Fishman. “All three were on the U.S. junior team in high school,” said Dauphiny.

“Michelle and Allison were scullers who have made a good transition to the sweep. They are the group that could learn the most from Kristin; they are not quite there yet. We have a ways to go.”

Notwithstanding her early-season pessimism, Dauphiny thinks her top boat could go far this spring.

“Our goal is to win the Ivy League and qualify for the NCAAs,” said Dauphiny, whose team heads up to Boston this Saturday to take on Harvard and Cornell.

“If we are at the same speed in six weeks that we are now, we’re going to be in trouble. If we continue to improve and grow, we can make those goals.”

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