Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 20
 
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
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BRONZE STAR: Rowers on the Princeton University women’s open crew first varsity eight hone their form in a recent training session on Lake Carnegie. Last Sunday, the Tigers showed fortitude as they took third in the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) Sprints. Princeton will complete its season by competing in the NCAA championship regatta from May 29-31 at Cooper River in Camden.

Showing Fortitude in Furious Stretch Drive, Tiger Women’s Open Crew 3rd at Easterns

Bill Alden

A day after the running of the Preakness Stakes, the Princeton University women’s open crew first varsity boat found itself in a horse race at the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) Sprints.

As the Tigers reached the halfway point of the 2,000-meter grand final last Sunday on Cooper River in Camden, there was a logjam coming into the homestretch.

“There were five boats even at 1,000 meters with just a few seats separating them,” recalled Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny. “It is one of the best final races I have seen.”

Princeton kept in the money as it pulled away with Yale and Harvard ahead of the pack.

In a photo finish, the Tigers got nosed out by Yale and Harvard to take third.

While Dauphiny had hoped to be in the winner’s circle, she was proud of how her top boat kept driving to the finish.

“The top three boats really asserted themselves and separated themselves from the others,” said Dauphiny, whose boat clocked a time of 6:23.53, just behind champion Yale (6:21.95) and runner-up Harvard (6:22.86).

“That is hard to do three-quarters of the way through a race when people are getting tired. Our rowers acted with great poise and maturity.”

Entering the final race, Dauphiny and her rowers knew it was anybody’s race.

“They wanted to put themselves in position to be in contention for a medal and possibly win the race,” said Dauphiny.

“Coming into it, I had thought the medals were up for grabs. When we saw the times from the heats, we could see that things really were up for grabs.”

Princeton’s showing was even more impressive considering that the top boat has been plagued with injuries this spring.

“They were reactionary this week dealing with injuries,” said Dauphiny.

“They were very mature; they stayed on goal and focused no matter what changes we have had in the lineup.”

For Dauphiny, seeing her rowers get back to the medal stand after being out of the money last year was special.

“It was awesome; it meant a lot to see the team on the stand especially after a tight race that required a gutsy effort,” said Dauphiny, whose top boat finished a disappointing fourth in the 2008 Eastern Sprints final.

“They didn’t get as much as they wanted but after what they went through last year and dealing with injuries this season, they did everything they possibly could in this race. They performed at the highest level.”

Now, the Tigers will get to test their mettle against the highest levels of college rowing as they compete in the NCAA championships from May 29-31 at Cooper River.

Dauphiny is confident that her top boat’s best racing is ahead. “I do think that we have more to give,” said Dauphiny, noting that the program’s other boats need to step up in the NCAA regatta which crowns an overall team champ as well as a top varsity winner.

“It is nice to race in our backyard. We know the course and won’t have to travel across the country.”

If the Tigers stay on course, they could emerge as local heroes in Camden.

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