In one of the busiest days in its history, 31 rowing races came down the Lake Carnegie course last Saturday as all four Princeton rowing squads — the Heavyweight Men, Lightweight Men, Openweight Women, and Lightweight Women — hosted Ivy League competitors.
The No. 5-ranked Heavyweight Men kicked things off at 8 a.m. with a sweep of No. 15 Columbia and No. 14 Penn to retain the Childs Cup, the oldest contested cup in collegiate rowing, dating back to 1879. The entire heavyweight squad made it through its fourth weekend of racing while maintaining an undefeated record, setting the team up for a showdown with fourth-ranked Harvard on the Charles River next weekend.
Senior Will Chance said the Tigers will stick to their strategy of “setting up a great piece in the first 500 and then pushing the pace with [their] relentless base speed,” working from there to separate from challenging crews.
The No. 2-ranked Lightweight Men followed, claiming a fourteen-second win over the University of Delaware, Dartmouth, and Temple, bouncing back from last weekend’s narrow loss to No. 3-ranked Columbia. Each Princeton boat won its race by at least five seconds.
The Lightweights’ strong start to a three-week home stand will be followed this coming Saturday in a head-to-head match-up with No.1 Cornell for the Platt Cup. Last year, the Tigers fell to Big Red — the eventual National Champions — by just 1.9 seconds, a narrow margin that has become typical in top-tier lightweight racing.
The No. 4-ranked Openweight Women put on an impressive showing as they hosted the first-ever Ivy League Invitational. In the morning session, the squad earned wins over No. 13 Harvard-Radcliffe and Cornell in each boat, with the First Varsity Eight retaining the Class of 1975 Cup by 10.4 seconds.
The Openweight Women also swept their afternoon session against Dartmouth and Pennsylvania, with the team retaining the Class of 1984 Plaque. The Tigers always expect their Ivy League competition to be strong, but the First and Second Varsity Eights did not predict challenges by No. 19 Dartmouth, a team that has added significant speed since last spring.
All weekend, Princeton kept a close eye on its No. 7 rival, Yale, who they will face next weekend alongside No. 11 Iowa. It will be an excellent mid-season test for the Tigers, who plan to “go out there and race like [there are] no expectations,” said junior Claire Collins.
It was the No. 2-ranked Lightweight Women, however, who may have had the most exciting day on Lake Carnegie. Following last weekend’s season-opener, a loss to No. 1 Stanford, the Lightweight Women dominated No. 6 Harvard-Radcliffe and won the Class of 1999 Cup at home for the first time since 2010.
Senior coxswain Megan Mirabella was especially impressed by her crew’s 12.4 second victory; they will need to be “achieving margins like that whenever possible” in order to have to have their “most ambitious season yet." Princeton’s lightweight four and double also posted large margins over their competitors from Harvard, with head coach Paul Rassam noting that the win “felt especially good because the whole team raced so well."
Until the championship regattas roll around in late May and early June, the Princeton crews will continue challenging each other during the week, and challenging their competition come the weekend.