Even through the Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity 8 crew fell to Columbia last Saturday to suffer its second defeat to the Lions this spring, Marty Crotty is not pushing the panic button.
“During the H-Y-P (Harvard-Yale-Princeton) race (on April 26) one of our rowers was injured and we thought we could plug the hole this week but we didn’t,” said Princeton head coach Crotty, whose top boat clocked a time of 5:55.4 over the 2,000-meter course on Lake Overpeck in Ridgefield, N.J to trail Columbia by 2.2 seconds but edge third-place Delaware by 0.8 of second.
“We got off to another flat start on Saturday and Columbia is a good enough boat to take advantage of that. We were dealing with a different lineup. We have a lot to do in the next two weeks but we have eight strong rowers and a good cox. It is not like there is a significant time difference. Losing could be a step back but it wasn’t in this case, the race showed us what we need to work on.”
The second varsity 8 took another step forward last Saturday, winning its race to remain undefeated this spring.
“It is amazing to go through unscathed, they have had a different lineup in every race,” said Crotty, noting that injury, illness, and lineup changes come with the territory. “To be able to rotate guys through varsity and still win every week is an accomplishment.”
With the varsity 8 at 7-3, having also lost to Cornell, Crotty believes the boat has plenty of potential.
“It has been an up and down season,” said Crotty, whose boat was ranked second nationally coming into the regatta last Saturday.
“We are trying to get the pieces together. We have shown flashes. Even in the losses, we have matched the speed of the other boats over the last 1,500 meters.”
As Princeton prepares for Eastern Sprints, which are slated for May 18 at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., the focus is clear.
“We need to get off the line with the field so we are not working from behind,” said Crotty.
“I am not used to that as a coach. If anything, I have been known for getting boats out too fast. I need to get guys hyped up and aggressive in the first 40 strokes. We just need to be a little cleaner and a little sharper at the start.”
Crotty believes his rowers can clean up at the Sprints. “We are going into the next two weeks thinking that every boat can win at Sprints,” said Crotty.
“We are not using hope as a strategy. We have the talent to win. Cornell and Columbia have gotten the best of us so far. We just need to clean things up at both ends and this is the time of the year that you do that.”