High hopes and lofty goals are often difficult to live up to, but in the case of Princeton women's crew, all of its preseason expectations seem well within reach.
Travelling to Ithaca, N.Y., Saturday for an important Ivy League regatta, both the lightweight and open teams performed exceptionally well, capturing important victories over Cornell and Radcliffe.
The open crew entered the race with strong momentum from last week's victory over Rutgers on Lake Carnegie, and used it to its advantage against both the Big Red and the Crimson.
The first varsity eight (2-1) bested both rival opponents, turning in a time of seven minutes, 6.5 seconds to 7:12.5 for Radcliffe and 7:27.0 for Cornell.
After jumping out to a slight lead in the first 500 meters of the course, Princeton began to pull away as the race wore on, finishing with a commanding six-second victory.
Three out of the remaining four Tiger boats won with equal ease, as only the first novice eight stumbled, losing to Radcliffe 6:48.5 to 6:55.6.
Despite the disappointment of not sweeping the regatta, the results reveal much about the steady improvement of all five boats.
"We have made great strides already this season," said open head coach Lori Dauphiny. "I'm pretty pleased."
Much of the same rowing will be expected from the Tigers when they take on Ivy rival Yale and national powerhouse Virginia on Lake Carnegie this Saturday. At that race, Princeton will hope to set the tone for the upcoming national competitions in mid-May.
"This race is going to be crucial," Dauphiny said. "Both crews are extremely tough and we need to perform up to our potential."
With a victory on the water this weekend, the open Tigers will be well on their way to meeting national and personal expectations.
Such excitement and preseason goal-setting also surrounded the first-ever season for the women's lightweight crew. The Tigers began the spring ranked No. 2 by the United States Rowing Association, behind Radcliffe.
Despite the disappointing loss by the first varsity eight to Radcliffe at the San Diego Crew Classic last weekend in San Diego, Calif., the Tigers avenged that performance by besting the Crimson Saturday, 7:18.2 to 7:23.0.
With the impressive six-second victory, the Tigers have solidified their position as one of the fastest crews in the country. The team now looks to continue its success against Wisconsin this Saturday on Lake Carnegie.
All of the sudden, the situation has changed on the water. A few weeks ago, the Tigers looked to take aim at the top competition in intercollegiate crew. Now it appears that the competition has Princeton in its sights.