Traditionally dominating the ranks of eastern collegiate crew, the women's open and lightweight teams finally got the chance to conquer both Atlantic and Pacific waters on the same weekend. Although separated by over 3,000 miles, both squads performed well in important early season regattas.
As the Tiger lightweights travelled to San Diego, Calif., for the San Diego Crew Classic, the open women competed at Lake Carnegie against Rutgers and Columbia.
Despite facing a blustery headwind at their home course, this past Saturday, all five Tiger boats captured convincing victories against the Scarlet Knights and Lions. As the first varsity eight cruised to a 10-second victory, posting a time of seven minutes, 15 seconds. The second varsity eight followed suit with an even more impressive 21-second thrashing of the competition.
"I was extremely pleased with our performance," said women's open head coach Lori Dauphiny. "We were definitely more aggressive on the water."
After the first varsity eight (1-1) came up short against Brown in the season opener, Dauphiny promised to make the necessary changes to improve the team's performance. Whatever experimentation went on at the boathouse this past week clearly led to a much more powerful and intimidating performance on the water.
"All five boats went out hard and rowed with more pure power," Dauphiny said. "It wasn't the prettiest rowing, but it was effective."
Although the rowing lacked some of the fluidity which Dauphiny hoped to achieve, the results were remarkably impressive, as no Tiger boat won by a margin smaller than eight seconds.
"Everyone is pumped about the performance," Dauphiny said, "but we definitely still have things to work on."
The open team hopes to correct any remaining problems prior to its trip to Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend to take on Cornell and Radcliffe in an important Ivy League regatta.
With the women's open team enjoying a dominant weekend on one coast, the Tigers' lightweight crew hoped to add another women's crew victory on the other. At the San Diego Crew Classic, Princeton torched the competition in its semifinal heat, only to come up short in the final against arch rival Radcliffe.
The Tigers' first varsity eight took an early lead in its heat and never relinquished it, finishing seven seconds ahead of Villanova, 7:05 to 7:12.
Coming off such an excellent semifinal performance, the lightweight Tigers looked with anticipation toward a showdown against top-ranked Radcliffe in the Sunday finals.
Despite the positive outlook and the beautiful weather in San Diego, Princeton's performance was not enough, as the Tigers fell to the Crimson by a mere three seconds, 6:56 to 6:59.
The Tigers hope to gain from the setback, learning collective strengths and weaknesses, as the team continues its quest for both an Ivy and national crown.
"These early races are just an opportunity to test the speed of different boats in different conditions," Dauphiny said. "It's all about preparing for the NCAA championships."
Both teams will get another chance to prepare this upcoming weekend in New York against Cornell and Radcliffe.