April 17, 2024

PU Women’s Open Rowers Shine at Ivy Invite, Displaying their Depth with Dominant Efforts

OPEN INVITATION: The Princeton University women’s open varsity 8 churns through the water in recent action. Last weekend, Princeton’s top boat went 2-0 at the Ivy Invite on Lake Carnegie. On Friday, the Tigers topped Harvard and Cornell in the race for the Class of 1975 Cup and then topped Rutgers and USC a day later. In upcoming action, No. 3 Princeton heads to New Haven, Conn. on Saturday to face No. 5 Yale in the race for the Eisenberg Cup. (Photo by Ed Hewitt – Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Lori Dauphiny was drained after her Princeton University women’s open rowing program hosted the Ivy Invite last weekend on Lake Carnegie.

The Tigers welcomed crews from Penn, Brown, USC, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Columbia, Harvard, and Cornell, sharing the water with the Princeton University men’s heavyweight and lightweight rowers who were also hosting regattas.

“We were really excited about it, I was pleased to be able to host; there were so many crews,” said Princeton open head coach Dauphiny, who credited boathouse administrator Tom Heebink with playing a key role in coordinating the logistics of the event. “The men were racing the Childs Cup and the lightweight men, the Platt Cup. It was a lot of fun because there was a ton of energy around the boathouse with all of the crews racing and with so many visiting crews. It was a big regatta. It pooped me out, I was exhausted by the end.”

The Princeton boats showed plenty of energy as they swept their races over the weekend.

The varsity 8 had a big victory on Friday, topping Harvard-Radcliffe and Cornell to earn the Class of 1975 Cup, posting a winning time of 6:10.02 over the 2,000-meter course with Harvard taking second in 6:25.76 and Cornell coming in third at 6:52.21.

“That 1975 Cup is pretty special because that is one of the first classes of women at Princeton and they started that,” said Dauphiny. “They come back and they talk to the team; it is cool to see the women who came before us and really blazed the way. They laid the foundation for sure. It was a good race with Harvard early on and because we hadn’t done so well in the second half of the race against Brown (in a season-opening win on March 30), that was something we were really focused on and did a good job.”

The Tiger top boat which features junior Katherine George, junior Anne du Croo de Jongh, junior Margot LeRoux, junior Zoe Scheske, junior Katharine Kalap, freshman Sam Smart, and freshman Joely Cherniss came through with another big win on Saturday, defeating Rutgers and USC. Princeton clocked a time of 6:19.9 with Rutgers finishing second in 6:25.8 and USC taking third in 6:43.4.

“That was very important, one of the reasons for the Ivy Invite is that cross-referencing, cross-pollination,” said Dauphiny. “USC only had one race before against Stanford, the No. 1 boat in the nation. We didn’t know what to expect from them. It was a very good showing from the east coast crews. Everyone is always comparing margins — we had to do our best there. I think Rutgers felt the same way. The race unfolded as a Princeton-Rutgers race. Rutgers never faltered and never let down, they stayed right on us all the way down. I think USC may have lost a little heart and fell off.”

The squad’s top 4s showed their depth as Dauphiny flip-flopped them over the two days of racing and they still posted a pair of dominant wins. On Friday, the Princeton A4 defeated Harvard-Radcliffe and Cornell. The Tigers came in at 7:09.82 with the Crimson taking second in 7:25.05 and the Big Red placing third in 7:43.90. A day later, Princeton bested Rutgers and USC. The Tigers posted a winning time of 7:22.6 with the Scarlet Knights coming in second at 7:28.5 and the Trojans taking third in 7:46.2.

“So the A4 switched, the A4 was the B4 in the first set of racing and then the B4 was the A4 in the second set of racing,” explained Dauphiny. “We have not sorted out lineups yet, we are still working on lineups. There is a lot of depth in the 4s and they are really close in speed. It makes sense at this time to switch it up.”

The Princeton second varsity 8 also showed some speed over the weekend. On Friday, the boat defeated Harvard-Radcliffe and Cornell, posting a winning time of 6:21.84 with Crimson taking second in 6:34.91 and the Big Red placing third in 7:04.15. A day later, the Tigers beat Rutgers and USC, coming in at 6:28.9 with the Scarlet Knights second in 6:33.2 and the Trojans finishing third in 6:53.4.

“That is our NCAA team, the two 8s and the 4; the 2V continues to improve,” said Dauphiny. “They had a really nice week of training leading up to the Ivy Invite. It was some of their best. There is a lot of experience in that boat which you can see in their mature approach. I thought the racing went well. There are things we still need to work on in that boat. I thought overall they raced well back-to-back.”

In Dauphiny’s view, the busy weekend was good prep for postseason competition.

“It was good, going back-to-back,” said Dauphiny. “Everyone was practicing that at the Ivy Invite to be able to race back-to-back because we will have to do that at our Ivy championship.”

While the Tiger crews are off to a good start, Dauphiny knows there is plenty of room for growth.

“I feel like we are still working on things, it is still a work in progress,” said Dauphiny. “I do like the way things have started. I am really excited to see what this crew can do in all boats.”

Dauphiny is excited about the camaraderie her rowers are displaying as they make progress.

“I think more than ever you see the team coming together,” added Dauphiny. “Boatings can sometimes fracture a team. I really see people working together, no matter what boat they are in. That is really important to us as a team, I am really proud of that. They are working hard to be a strong team throughout. It showed in the Ivy Invite because our 4V8 ended up beating Rutgers 3V8. That is hard when you think about Princeton with 5,500 students and you think about Rutgers with 20,000. I think they have 90 on their roster because they have to equal out football. Everyone is going a great job.”

The No. 3 Tigers will need to keep doing a good job to remain undefeated as they face No. 5 Yale on the Housatonic River in New Haven, Conn. on April 20 in the race for the Eisenberg Cup.

“Yale will be tough, it is at their home,” said Dauphiny. “We will leave on Friday after class and will go up there and race on Saturday. It is challenging.Yale starts on a stagger on their course because there is a turn. We don’t race any other races this year where there is a turn on the 2,000-meter course. You have to stay in your lane and go around buoys and people can mess up. It is not an easy course.”