On Sunday, the women’s openweight rowing headed down to Cooper River for the 2017 Ivy League Championships. Coming into the regatta, Princeton’s 1V was ranked No. 7 in the country and was the top-seeded team in the tournament after an 11-0 season. An advantage for the Tigers this season has been the extra time that they got on the water with the warm weather in February. Performing well in the 2V and V4A races was going to be important for Princeton too; since these are counted in determining the NCAA Championship, they would be important warm-up races.
After the fear of some afternoon weather had caused the regatta to be moved up in the day, the Tigers started with a bang with the 1V winning the opening heat of the day by five seconds over Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell. This began a strong run for Princeton, as each boat competing in the heats after (2V, V4A, V4B) all made the grand finals for their respective divisions. The V4 and V4B both won their respective heats, while the 2V placed second behind Brown by nine seconds.
After the morning heats, the finals got started with the 3V final. While the Tigers did not have their strongest performance of the season, this was an important opportunity for a boat of mostly underclassmen rowers to get a chance to experience championship racing. In the next final, the V4C raced to a bronze medal with a boat of all underclassmen and a time of 7:42.859. The next race for Princeton was the V4B Grand Final in which the Tigers finished second just off Yale’s pace the whole time by about three to four seconds. The lead was narrowed to around two seconds by the 1500m mark, but Princeton could not keep up during the last 500m.
Three races were now left for the Tigers, who were still looking to claim a win. Next up was the V4A final, which saw a close race between Yale, Brown, and Princeton’s boats with Princeton ultimately finishing third three seconds behind Yale and less than two seconds behind Brown. After this, the Tigers turned their focus to the 2V final. The Tigers led after the first 1500m, but could not hold off Yale’s sprint in the last 500m, and Princeton claimed the silver medal.
In the last race of the day, with the Ivy League title and the automatic qualifier for the NCAA’s on the line, the Tigers 1V took to the water. Princeton meant business in this race after they took a boat-length lead in the first 100m and never looked back, going on to win the race by four seconds. This gave the Tigers their third Ivy League championship in four years. This clinched Princeton’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which means that the 1V, 2V, and V4 will all get a chance to race at the NCAA Championships. The Championships will be held at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ on May 26-28.