The two-time reigning Ivy League Champion women’s openweight crew are making changes and digging in after a tenth-place team finish at last May’s NCAA Championship on Mercer Lake. Senior Co-Captain Riley MacAulay is excited for racing to begin, and “expect[s] it will be a great season to win [another] Ivy Championship.”
The fall racing season has already provided some positive returns for the Tigers, with the first varsity eight winning the Princeton Chase for the first time since 2010, besting competitors Virginia and Brown by a ten second margin. The second varsity eight was one of two “B” crews to finish in the top ten, coming in eighth. These results came just a week after the first varsity eight placed seventh among collegiate crews at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
MacAulay continued to note how, over the winter training season, the team has “collectively dropped a lot of time with [a] new training plan,” and made clear that the team “is ready to see how our big efforts through winter will pay off on the water.” The team’s “positive attitudes and devoted dispositions” will likely play a large role in their quest to win a medal in each boat class at the Ivy League Championship.
This season the Tigers will also face more crews from outside the Ivy League as part of an amped-up racing schedule. Seeing some crews they don’t usually race until NCAAs will be a challenge and a benefit for the team, but will hopefully leave them better prepared for the final regatta of the year. New additions include Michigan, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The Tigers will begin this highly-competitive spring racing schedule on March 24 at home on Lake Carnegie against Brown and the third-place team from NCAAs, Michigan.
The lightweight women ended 2017 spectacularly, with an unexpected bronze medal at the IRA Championships, a product of a gutsy race that saw them avenge an earlier loss to Harvard-Radcliffe. This medal was Princeton’s first at IRAs since 2011, a silver in the varsity eight.
This spring, the team will no doubt miss the leadership and experience of two Class of 2017 All-America rowers, Christina Warren and Juliette Hackett, both members of the first varsity eight last spring. In the fall season, though, Princeton saw its three recruited freshmen, Annie Anezakis, Emily Downey, and Lauren Sanchez, capably fill these seats at the Head of Charles and the Princeton Chase.
In Boston, the Tigers placed fifth in the lightweight field. The following weekend, they finished 15th amongst open and lightweight women’s crews. They were the top lightweight finishers in the combined Women’s Eight category at the Chase, besting the next fastest lightweight crew, Georgetown, by 16 seconds.
“We aren't super interested in waiting for the future; we are excited to see what we can do in the now,“ said Head Coach Paul Rassam after the race.
Now will come soon enough as the lightweight women open the racing season on March 31 against the three-time reigning IRA Champions, Stanford, on their racecourse. This race against Stanford was a new addition to the Tigers’ schedule last spring, and the team is very excited to continue the duel. The trip out to sunny California will be far from a spring vacation though, as Princeton is looking to take the next competitive step.
The team’s “goal for this spring is to win the points trophy at Eastern Sprints,” said junior rower Grace Miles. Rassam takes it a step further though, adding his belief that the Tigers “can medal in each boat class at the IRAs in June.”
Miles also discussed how the lightweight women “have been working hard during the off-season to build off the momentum of last spring,” which will surely play a role in the team’s prospects this season. These Tigers, like their openweight counterparts, look forward to racing season and seeing their hard work pay off.