April 11, 2018

PU Men’s Heavyweights Win Childs Cup, Bringing 6-0 Record Into Clash at Harvard

MAKING WAVES: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity crew shows its form in a race this spring. Last Saturday, Princeton’s top boat defeated Penn and Columbia to win the Childs Cup. The Tigers, now 6-0, face Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. on April 14 in the race for the Compton Cup. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

In building the Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing squad into one of the deepest programs in the nation, Greg Hughes has focused more on instilling a work ethic than stockpiling athletes.

“It is not just about your talent and ability, it is about development,” said Princeton head coach Greg Hughes. “It is one of those intangible things about sports that we as a society learn. It doesn’t come down to a one-off or just getting lucky. Consistent, steady, day-to-day hard work over time will yield results.”

Princeton has been seeing tangible results, with the top boat medaling four straight years at the Eastern Sprints and the Tigers winning the event’s Rowe Cup in two of the last three years given to the program that piles up the most points in all boats. On the national stage, Princeton’s varsity eight placed in the top four in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship regatta as well in each of the last four years. 

Last Saturday, as it hosted the Childs Cup regatta on Lake Carnegie, the Tigers displayed depth, winning all five races in the competition.

Hughes credits senior captain Augustin Wambersie with setting a tone of diligence throughout the squad.

“Augustin is one of those kind of guys who is a quiet leader; he is not the person that stands there in front of a big group and has a lot to say,” said Hughes.

“When he does speak, it is always really good. He has got a good head for sport and he is a great leader. He is one of those hard, quiet workers and very consistent. That has been really great to have.”

It is great for Princeton to have a number of other good senior leaders, including Tom George, Will Chance, Leo Toch, and Tim Livingstone.

“Tom raced last summer as the senior world championships in the men’s pair and he was the only U.S. college kid to make the A final,” said Hughes.

“Will came here effectively as a novice and has worked his way up the ranks. He is just doing a great job and made real improvements through all of those year. Leo has been rowing up in the bow seat in the varsity. He made his way up through the third varsity and the second varsity and now he is in the varsity. Tim has done a really good job. Last year was a little bit harder for him, but he learned from it and he has made real improvements. We needed some guys prepared to step up and play a role and they have. It is still early obviously, there are big races to come. It has been a fun group to coach.”

It has been fun for Hughes to welcome in a special group of freshmen to the program. “There are a lot of talented guys in this year’s freshman class who are doing a great job in the 2V, 3V, 4V mix which has been awesome,” said Hughes.

“It always takes time; it is a big step up from high school to college. Those guys have been doing a nice job developing. That has been a big part of our focus this spring, to put those guys in lots of different situations and give them all all the chance to learn and step up.”

Hughes liked the way his rowers stepped up last Saturday across the board. “It was a solid effort for all of the boats,” said Hughes, whose top boat posted a winning time of 6:03.9 over the 2,000-meter course in improving to 6-0 with Penn taking second in 6:09.2 and Columbia coming in third at 6:12.8.

“The varsity got the job done. It was also an opportunity for us to get a look at things that we need to work on. Those guys have a good head for that, so we were able to dissect that race and  think about this week and what we want to work on and prepare for as we get ready for the ones to come.”

The Tigers have a big race coming up this weekend as they face Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. on April 14 in the race for the Compton Cup.

“It is pretty simple. It is about execution and putting up our best performance,” said Hughes. “I tend not to get caught up in opponents. There are nine people in our boat and we are going to make sure that is what is firing and get ready to go.”