Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 22
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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OPEN THROTTLE: The Princeton University women’s open first varsity boat glides on Lake Carnegie in a recent training session. Last weekend, the Tigers placed sixth in the grand final at the NCAA women’s rowing championship regatta.

PU Women’s Open Crew 6th at NCAA Regatta, Taking a Step Forward but Hungry for More

Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women’s open first varsity boat prepared last week for the NCAA women’s rowing championship regatta, it finally gained a sense of continuity.

“We have had a lot of ups and downs this season with injuries,” said Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny.

“In the time between the Eastern Sprints and the nationals, it was the first time we had the same lineup for two straight weeks. I think there was excitement; the first boat really started to come together. They found their groove.”

In their opening heat last Thursday on Cooper River near Camden, the Tigers were in rhythm as they took second to advance to the semifinals.

The next day, Princeton produced a furious final 1,000 meters to place second in the semis and qualify for the finals.

Dauphiny liked the way her top boat took care of business in making it to the finals.

“In the opening heat, we knew what to expect,” said Dauphiny, whose boat entered the regatta seeded eighth.

“Our main goal was to avoid the repechage. We did a very good job. In the semis, it was the same thing, finish in the top three and qualify. I think we turned some heads. We beat some boats that had beaten us earlier in the season.”

Things, though, didn’t turn out as well in the final as Princeton faded to sixth. Stanford won the race with a record-breaking time of 6:11.95 over the 2,000-meter course with Virginia next at 6:12.32. The Tigers clocked a time of 6:24.02.

“We were excited; we had a good feeling going into it,” said Dauphiny, recalling the boat’s mindset heading into the championship race.

“The progression system of the regatta takes its toll. We were third at the 1,000 like in the opening heat and semis but we ran out of gas. I talked to the girls after the race and no one had an answer for why that happened.”

In the end, Princeton’s ongoing battle with the injury bug may have sapped it of the energy it needed to compete with the elite of its sport.

“We had good training this season but could have had better training,” said Dauphiny. “The injuries hurt; it is tough to build up endurance when you are dealing with that.”

Dauphiny liked the way her senior co-captains, Allison Fishman and Annie Gayman, dealt with things this spring as they led the Tigers.

“They gave us maturity and a positive attitude,” asserted Dauphiny, whose top boat finished 12th at last year’s NCAA regatta. “They both were upbeat; they looked at the bright side of things. They were always going for the next challenge.”

With Princeton’s top boat returning six of eight rowers and its coxswain, there is plenty of reason to be upbeat about its ability to deal with challenges ahead.

“I think last year when we left the NCAAs, people were in tears,” said Dauphiny, noting that stroke Sara Hendershot and cox Ariel Frost will be the team’s co-captains next year.

“People were not satisfied with the final result but we definitely made a step forward. We are not where we want to be so it is fuel for the fire.”

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