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Men’s and women’s lightweight rowing claim national championship titles at IRA Regatta

No. 1 mens lightweight rowing claimed the national title at the IRA National Championship Regatta.
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Princeton rowing celebrated a triumphant close to a historic season, as the No. 1 men’s and No. 1 women’s lightweight teams claimed national titles at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta. Women’s openweight additionally placed third at the NCAA championship, and No. 3 men’s heavyweight placed fourth at IRAs. 

IRA championship weekend began at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. in early June with men’s heavyweight heats. The Tiger Varsity Eight finished first in both the heat and semi-finals, ahead of Harvard and Yale respectively, and came in third place in the finals, behind California and Washington. 


This victory is the first medal at IRAs for the Tigers top varsity boat (1V) since 2016 and marks a significant leap from 1V’s ninth place finish last year. 

Second Varsity finished second behind Brown in heats and fourth in semi-finals, but they recovered and finished in first place ahead of Boston in finals. Third Varsity came in third in heats, and fourth in semi-finals, but also recovered in finals to come in first place ahead of Syracuse. 

However, when points were totaled, the men’s heavyweight team ultimately finished in fourth place with 236 points, behind California, Washington, and Yale, which is a four spot improvement from Tigers’ eighth place finish last year. 

The No. 1 men’s lightweight team swept the competition. Both the Varsity Eight and the Second Varsity Eight finished in first place in both heats and finals. The Varsity Eight finished 2.146 seconds ahead of Pennsylvania in heats and 1.862 seconds ahead of Harvard in finals, while the Second Varsity Eight came in 1.602 seconds ahead of Yale in heats and 2.48 seconds in front of Harvard in finals. 

The Varsity Four placed second in heats, finishing 3.406 seconds behind Georgetown, and fourth in finals. Overall, Princeton finished with 54 points, putting them four points ahead of Harvard for a national title. 

The No. 1 women’s lights saw a similar sweep. The Varsity Eight, Varsity Double, and Varsity Four all finished in first place in both heats and finals. The Varsity Eight finished 4.014 seconds ahead of Stanford in heats, and clocked in a whopping 6.280 second margin ahead of Stanford in finals. The Varsity Double finished 8.352 seconds ahead of Harvard in heats and 4.470 seconds in front of the Crimson in finals, and the Varsity Four came in 4.200 seconds in front of MIT in heat, and .872 seconds ahead of MIT in finals. 


This series of perfect finishes earned the Tigers 72 points, 15 points ahead of Boston, and their second consecutive national championship. This victory is only the second time the same school has won both lightweight championships in the same year. The first time was in 1997 with Harvard and Radcliffe.

Slightly south of IRAs, in Pennsauken, N.J., women’s openweight claimed a bronze medal at the NCAA championship a week earlier. No. 1 Varsity Eight finished in third place, 2.62 seconds behind Washington. 

This is the third time that the boat has medaled in consecutive years, the last being during the 2009–10 season. The Second Varsity Eight (2V) came in fifth place, 4.41 seconds behind Yale — the same position the 2V finished in last year, and these two years mark the highest finishes since the 2V medaled in 2014. 

The Varsity Four finished in sixth place, 5.49 seconds behind Virginia. These results earned the Tigers a spot on the podium, with a total score of 113 points, behind Washington’s score of 120 and Stanford’s 129. 

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This is the second straight season the Tigers placed third at NCAA’s, and the first time in program history Princeton placed in the top three in consecutive seasons. Princeton was also the highest finish in the Ivy League, with Yale coming in fifth, Penn in sixth, and Brown in seventh. 

Senior and first team All-Ivy selection Lydia Rosen notes the team’s success was largely due to learning from each race and is hopeful that the success at NCAAs will encourage the team to continue striving for more. 

“We talked about each race — the good and the bad — and came together as a boat to make the next race better than the last,” Rosen told the Daily Princetonian. “We felt confident entering the races, and the rankings only helped motivate us and reassure us of our potential as a team.” 

The program has celebrated several milestones this year, with historic anniversaries, exciting finishes, Ivy League titles, and the recent successes at the national championships, demonstrating the high caliber, commitment, and resilience of Princeton’s rowing teams. Fans will have much to look forward to in the coming season. 

Olivia Lechner is a contributor to the Sports section at thePrince.

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