Howe Comes a Long Way in Her PU Crew Career, Helping Tiger Open 1V Boat Place 9th at NCAAs
DIGGING DEEP: The Princeton University women’s open varsity 8 gives its all as it took third place in the B final at the NCAA Championships last Sunday on Mercer Lake. The boat, which went undefeated in regular season action and won the Ivy League regatta, thereby finished ninth overall nationally. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Georgie Howe came a long way to join the Princeton University women’s open rowing program.
Hailing from down under in Melbourne, Australia, Howe was attracted by the combination of academics and athletics offered by Princeton.
“Back home, there is not the communication between the universities and the sporting bodies to allow you to be a student athlete like you can in the states,” said Howe.
“I have had friends who had to defer a year here, a semester there. It takes them upwards of 4-5 years to complete their degree whereas we do it in four and we row at a level that is insane.”
Over the last four years, Howe has come a long way on and off the water.
“It has been a fantastic experience and I have grown as a person with the distance,” said the affable, reddish blonde-haired Howe, speaking with an Australian twang.
“I never had an extended period of time away from home before. I went to day school at home and maybe a rowing camp. I came here and I am away for 12 months. It is a big shift.”
Last Sunday, senior standout Howe had her final rowing experience for Princeton, competing for the open varsity 8 as it took third in the B final at the NCAA championships on Mercer Lake in West Windsor to finish ninth overall nationally in its division. Princeton clocked a time of 6:47.813 over the 2,000-meter course with Ohio State winning the race in 6:45.654 and Brown taking second in 6:47.459.
“We knew it was going to be a fight, unfortunately we didn’t have the legs to hold it all the way through,” said Howe, whose boat narrowly missed qualifying for the top six and the grand final when it took fourth in its semifinal heat on Saturday.
“Kudos to Ohio State, they are a great crew to race. Brown is a great crew to race. They all went out with a point to prove, the petite final is all about pride, racing for pride. You didn’t make the grand but you sure as hell want to race like you were.”
While Princeton was hoping to end the season with a win, Howe had no qualms with how the boat raced as it jumped into the lead at the start and was in first at the 1,000-meter mark.
“I wanted us row a great piece; we have had such a great season and we deserved to finish it off with a great piece,” said Howe, who rowed from the five-seat for the Tigers.
“We let it all out, that is all I could ask for her boat, three of us are seniors and going on but there are six of us returning. The team has a really bright future and if they remember this feeling, they will never want to do that again, being on the wrong side of the bubble.”
Howe will always remember what the top boat accomplished this spring as it went 11-0 in regular season competition and placed first at the Ivy League Championships.
“It has been such a great boat, we get along so well, we just jelled as boat,” said Howe, a team co-captain this year along with classmate Catherine Babiec.
“There was some mixing and matching, it takes a team to make a fast 1V. Everyone was pushing each other. We had an undefeated season; there aren’t many teams that can say they have done that and have won the Ivy League.”
Getting pushed by Tiger head coach Lori Dauphiny has helped bring out the best in Howe.
“Princeton rowing has really shaped me as a person; I firmly believe to better the rower, you have to first better the person,” said Howe.
“I think Lori Dauphiny does that to a tee. She is an incredible coach, one of the best in Princeton’s history across all sports. She is a phenomenal woman, really a testament to sport. She empowers us, she teaches us, she pushes us. She is never one to sugarcoat. I credit my development as a person to her.”
Princeton head coach Dauphiny, for her part, didn’t sugarcoat things in her post-race analysis of the varsity 8 last Sunday.
“I think they had a good race today, I think it was their best but unfortunately I don’t think we made the speed gains we would have liked to between the Ivy Championships and the national championships,” said Dauphiny.
“We did have room for improvement and we didn’t go as far with it as we should have.”
The second varsity experienced a similar fate as it placed fourth in the B final for its division.
“The 2V also could have made more speed gains, those two 8s train side by side quite a bit,” said Dauphiny, reflecting on a race won by Texas in 6:48.03 with Yale taking second in 6:49.793, Stanford finishing third in 6:50.220 and Princeton clocking a time of 6:51.088 as it came in fourth.
“I think for the 2V, they made gains within the regatta. Each race was a little bit better. They put it all out there in that race and in doing so, probably took the risk of getting rowed into. I think both boats, the 1V and the 2V did that. They went out hard, they put it all out in the line, they dug deep but it wasn’t enough. We need to be faster.”
Dauphiny credited her seniors with giving their all during their time at Princeton.
“I will miss them terribly, they will always be a part of our team and our boathouse,” said Dauphiny.
“They are very emotional now. I think they have had a great four years. One thing that can’t be taken away is their undefeated season and the Ivy championships. That was awesome, we would have liked to done better here but that was an accomplishment of the team and very much our senior leadership all the way through the program.”
Howe, for her part, is heading back down under after graduation, fired up to accomplish even more in the sport.
“I am really looking forward to going home for a little bit, maybe trying to mix it up with the training center back home,” said Howe.
“I want to keep rowing, 2020 [the Tokyo Summer Games] is the eventual goal. Lori is in my corner for that and I can’t ask for a better person in my corner.”