Racing on Lake Carnegie spanned four hours on Saturday morning as three of four Princeton rowing teams opened their season at home. But it was the one squad that had already tested its speed that came away with the biggest win of the day.
Coming off wins over Navy and Georgetown, the then-third-ranked Lightweight Men were ready to take on No. 1 Columbia. Before the season began, junior Adam Teece said that having come within seconds of the Lions last spring gave the team “a lot of motivation to do everything to a slightly higher standard” this time around.
All that work paid off on Saturday as the Tigers’ First Varsity Eight bested Columbia by 2.7 seconds to earn the Campbell Cup. Senior captain Danny Hogan said that the boat’s new and improved start was key to the victory. “One of our weaknesses from last year was our start, but our approach to the start this year has helped us gain a substantial advantage in the first 500 meters. We were able to push off the backs of our opponents the whole race and maintained our speed well.”
The Third Varsity Eight also earned a win, helping Princeton take the No. 1 spot in this week’s Intercollegiate Rowing Association/USRowing Collegiate Poll. “The team as a whole showed a lot of improvement this week, and I am excited to see how each boat continues to develop in the coming weeks,” Hogan added.
This weekend, the Lightweights will host No. 9 Dartmouth, No. 11 Temple, and Delaware as they race for the Diamond Challenge Cup.
The eighth-ranked Open Women began their season on Lake Carnegie against No. 6 Ohio State and No. 10 Brown. The First Varsity Eight defeated the Bears by 3.5 seconds to retain the Class of 1987 Cup, while Ohio State rowed to third place just 0.2 seconds behind Brown.
“We were super pleased with the race this morning,” senior co-captain Claire Collins said. “They were tough competitors, but we really stepped up and started the season off on the right foot.”
Princeton’s Second Varsity Eight, Varsity Four, and Third Varsity Eight each placed second in their races. It was a strong result for the team, which has made the jump up to No. 5 in this week’s USRowing/CRCA Poll.
"We are excited about the start to the season and look forward to making progress and racing next weekend in the Ivy Invite,” added Head Coach Lori Dauphiny. “Our league looks strong.” Princeton will race Dartmouth and Penn for the Class of 1984 Trophy on Sunday morning and Cornell and Harvard-Radcliffe for the Class of 1975 Cup on Sunday afternoon.
The seventh-ranked Heavyweight Men also began their season against No. 23 Georgetown on Saturday. The First Varsity Eight came away with a 15-second win. Two international first-years, Charlie Miller from Australia and James Quinlan from Ireland, made their debut in the top boat. Princeton’s second, third, and fourth eights all bested Georgetown’s second boat.
At the conclusion of racing, Head Coach Greg Hughes said: “It’s a positive way to get the year started and it gives us a good sense of the work we need to do over the next week as we gear up for the next one.” The Heavies will host Navy this weekend.
The morning concluded with the No. 3 Lightweight Women taking on No. 1 Stanford. Last spring, Princeton found itself eight seconds back of the Cardinal as Stanford captured the national championship. But this time around, the Tigers proved to be serious challengers. The First Varsity Eight fell by only 3.3 seconds.
“We were most proud of how we’ve managed to pick up where we left off at the end of last season,” junior co-captain Georgia Hellard-Timm added. “We’ve got so much time and room for improvement, and we’re so hungry for it. The field is closing, and it’s going to be a dogfight this year. We’re ready.”
This Saturday, the Lightweight Women will make the trip to Boston to race No. 4 Harvard-Radcliffe on the Charles River.