Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 22
 
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
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(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Crew/Tom Nowak)

FINAL SHOT: Princeton University women’s open crew star Sara Hendershot strokes the first varsity boat in a race this spring. Last weekend at the NCAA championship regatta, senior co-captain Hendershot helped the first varsity take third in its grand final as the Tigers took third in the team standings. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Crew/Tom Nowak)

Working Together From Top to Bottom, PU Open Crew Program 3rd at NCAAs

Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women’s open crew got ready last Sunday for the championship round of the NCAA regatta, Lori Dauphiny made no effort to hide her emotions.

“I confessed to the team that I was feeling pretty nervous but excited about the opportunity,” said head coach Dauphiny. “I told them to use that adrenaline.”

Coming into the final day of action at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif., Princeton had the opportunity to win the NCAA team championship.

Taking the title, though, would require each of Princeton’s three boats, the varsity four, second varsity eight, and first varsity eight, to win their finals.

The varsity four held up its end of the bargain as it came from behind to win the petite final.

“The 1V and 2V saw what the four did,” said Dauphiny. “It was a good start, they did all they could.”

The 2V, however, couldn’t duplicate that feat, placing fifth in their grand final. “The 2V had a great race,” said Dauphiny. “They had a couple of shaky points but they laid it all out.”

Even though the team title was out of reach, the first varsity went all out. The Tigers battled Yale, Virginia, and California at the front of the penultimate grand final of the competition.

While Princeton couldn’t beat out Yale and Virginia, the Tigers did hold off Cal to take third in the race and clinch third in the team standings. Virginia ended up as the team champion with Cal taking second.

“It was an awesome race; they pushed the pace with Yale and somewhere around 1000 meters, Virginia went ahead,” said Dauphiny, reflecting on the race which was won by Yale.

“We kept fighting; Cal made a surge and we were able to hold them off. The whole field was moving and moving fast. They asserted themselves; I think it was a great finish.”

It was one of Princeton’s greatest-ever team finishes at the regatta, bettered only by the second-place finish in 1997 and matched by the third place notched in 2006.

“I go into this expecting to win,” said Dauphiny, who guided Princeton to individual NCAA titles in 1997 with the second varsity and in 2006 with the undefeated 2006 first varsity.

“They all said Sunday that it was their best piece of the year; that’s all I can really ask. The whole program really stood up and showed good speed.”

Dauphiny credited senior co-captains Ariel Frost and Sara Hendershot with being stand-up performers for the Tigers.

“Frost and Hendershot have been special leaders; they lead by example,” said Dauphiny. “They have been some of the stronger leaders we have had here in terms of work ethic and desire. They brought the others along with them.”

The leadership of Frost and Hendershot influenced their classmates and trickled down through the program.

“We had senior representation on all three boats this weekend and I think that helped,” said Dauphiny.

“The seniors in each of those boats showed their teammates what was necessary and they each took pride in their boat.”

The rowers collectively took pride in working as a unit. “The team worked together from top to bottom more so than in other years,” said Dauphiny, who credited assistant coaches Helen Betancourt and Kristin Haraldsdottir with playing a major role in developing the rowers this spring. “We could not have done this without working together as a team.”

That team spirit was exemplified by a conversation between Dauphiny and Frost during the awards ceremony on Sunday.

“Ariel told me Sunday that the happiest moment of her Princeton career was seeing the whole team on the podium, the first varsity, second varsity, the four, and the spares,” said Dauphiny. “They were glowing in the moment.”

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