June 6, 2018

Senior Coxswain Mirabella Relishes the Ride As PU Women’s Lightweights Take 3rd at IRAs

LIGHT MOMENT: The Princeton University women’s lightweight varsity eight enjoys the moment after taking third place at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta last Sunday at Mercer Lake. It was the second straight bronze medal for Princeton’s top boat at the IRAs. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Megan Mirabella was hoarse but happy after piloting the Princeton University women’s lightweight varsity eight to a third place finish at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta last Sunday at Mercer Lake.

“Working with Paul [Princeton head coach Paul Rassam], we are able to use the time between sprints and IRAs really well,” said a raspy Mirabella, a senior coxswain from North Wales, Pa. “We were really excited to show our improvements and really battle them a lot closer than last year.”

Mirabella’s cox skills were tested as she had to guide the top boat through tough conditions as a howling head wind and rough water greeted the rowers on Sunday morning.

“We got out there and encountered a lot more choppy water than yesterday, which did require a little more attention to technical focus,” said Mirabella, reflecting on a race which saw Stanford finish first in 7:12.373 with Boston University next in 7:17.616 and Princeton clocking a time of 7:20.543 in earning bronze.

“We were able to use the warmup loop and get some practice with starts in the headwind and the chop. By the time we were on the course it had settled down a little bit and we were able to just really respond pretty well to the conditions and keep grinding it out.”

It was important for the Tigers to grind out a medal at the IRA regatta for a second straight year.

“Last year was our first medal in six years. To be able to top that right off with another one with a tighter finish was great,” said Mirabella, whose boat had lost to Stanford by 12.8 seconds in a regular season meeting on March 31.

“To be seats away from silver and seats away from gold gives us high hopes.”

Mirabella has enjoyed her four years in the cox seat. “I feel so lucky to have gotten to be on this team and to row with the girls I have and with Paul as my coach,” said Mirabella.

“I have learned so much and have been able to grow so much being a coxswain on this team. In my sophomore year, we had a really rough rebuilding year. So coming out of that and being able to get two medals in a row, we were able to push through that and build ourselves up to now with a finish with the tightest margins we have had on both of those crews in a while.”

Although her Princeton career is finished, Mirabella will be keeping an eye on the Tiger crew.

“I am going to really miss this team and this program,” said Mirabella, who will be working as a health care consultant in New York City after graduation. “I am so happy for them and so excited to see what they do next year, just given the way we ended it this year.”