Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 15
 
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Buoyed by Renewed Sense of Commitment, PU Women’s Open Crew Showing Promise

Bill Alden

Lori Dauphiny wasn’t sure what to expect last Saturday as her Princeton University women’s open crew battled for the Class of 1975 Cup.

“It was hard to know anything about Harvard-Radcliffe; they had a race with Brown a week ago that was changed to a head race due to conditions,” said Dauphiny, whose boat also competed against Bucknell and Cornell in Saturday’s regatta.

“Unfortunately we have had a number of injuries this year. The most notable are to senior Michelle King and sophomore Lauren Wilkinson. Hopefully they will come back; they have been working hard with the trainer.”

In addition to those uncertainties, the rowers were hit with miserable weather as a chilly downpour hit Lake Carnegie, bringing with it some tricky head winds.

The Princeton top boat, though, answered the questions in the affirmative as it covered the course in 7:23.2, some seven seconds better than runner-up Harvard-Radcliffe with Bucknell in third and Cornell taking fourth.

“Saturday’s race was really challenging, the race was 40 seconds slower than it should’ve been,” said Dauphiny.

“It was interesting, all the crews had difficult points in the race with the weather. We handled it very well, I am proud of their ability to come through.”

In a sense, though, Dauphiny was not surprised by her boat’s effort, given the positive attitude she is seeing this spring from all of her rowers.

“Everyone has stepped up; they are all committed,” asserted Dauphiny. “It is not just the first varsity, it is the 2V, the fours, and the freshmen. They are really committed to making a difference and they are in it to perform their best.”

Dauphiny credits her seniors with setting the right tone. “Allison Fishman and Annie Gayman are the two captains and they are both in the top boat,” said Dauphiny.

“The seniors have done a good job. They want to beat a bad rap. I was expecting greater things from them as sophomores and juniors. They realize that they have less than a year to go and there is a sense of urgency.”

Junior stroke Sarah Hendershot has displayed a special sense of urgency for the Tigers.

“Sarah was really disappointed with the results last spring and she came to me and said ‘Lori what can I do to get better,’ ” said Dauphiny.

“She worked hard all summer and came back better in the fall than when she left. She was tops in the fitness tests in our winter training. Something had to change and she realize it started with her.”

Princeton will have to keep getting better in order to pull out a victory this Saturday when it heads up to New Haven to take on powerful Yale for the Eisenberg Cup.

“They are ranked No. 1 in the country and they lost only one person from last year’s boat that won the NCAAs,” said Dauphiny.

“It will be a big challenge. We know they are a fast crew and it is on their water and that always makes it tough. We have to take things one step at a time, it does give us a measurement of our speed. No doubt you become a better seasoned rower matching up with the most powerful crews.”

In Dauphiny’s view, her rowers could develop into one of those powerful crews.

“We are a dark horse,” said Dauphiny, whose top boat is 6-1 on the season and is up to No. 7 in the national rankings.

“This group hasn’t won an Ivy title. They have had some successful races. We had a great regular season last year but didn’t do so well in the championship season. It is slightly different this year with some new blood in the mix. The sky is the limit if they reach their full potential.”

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