Caroline Lind ’06 and Heidi Robbins ’13 were part of two of the fastest boats in collegiate rowing history, as well as Princeton’s two NCAA V8 gold medalists. Now they have joined together to be part of the world’s fastest boat.
Lind and Robbins were in the U.S. women’s eight that won its ninth consecutive world championship this past weekend at the 2014 World Championships, held in Amsterdam. The duo powered a boat that held off an upset-minded Canadian W8+, which was stroked by Lauren Wilkinson ’11, a teammate of Robbins in the historic 2011 Princeton championship eight.
Those three joined Kate Bertko ’06 — a teammate of Lind in the 2006 championship eight — as Princeton medalists at the World Championships. Nine Tigers competed at Worlds, which marked the midway point between Olympic competitions.
Lind is the only Princeton rower to own two Olympic gold medals, and she joined Robbins to keep the American streak of dominance intact. The U.S. held a slim lead after 500 meters, but it began to open that advantage by the midway point of the race. The lead stayed at about three seconds for much of the final 1,000, with the U.S. winning in 5:56.830.
While Robbins, who joined Lind to help the W8+ set the world record in 2013, stroked the U.S.A., Wilkinson stroked the Canadian W8+ to a thrilling silver. China wasn’t able to move past Canada after the first split, but it also never let the Canadians out of their sight. Ultimately, the Canadian finish of 5:59.66 would be about a second faster than China, and enough for Wilkinson to earn a silver medal to match the one she claimed at the 2012 London Olympics.
Bertko’s story inspired the rowing community leading up to the World Championships, and her finish was equally inspirational. Bertko, rowing in the LW1x found herself in fifth place at the midway point, but a strong third split pushed her past both the German and Canadian sculler, and put her in medal contention in the final 500. Though she couldn’t move up past the Belgian or Greek rower, she held on for bronze to complete an amazing journey from a hospital bed in July.
Glenn Ochal ’08 won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Games in the four, and he competed in the pair at the Worlds. He reached the A final with teammate Charles Cole and held the third spot at the middle point, but a strong charge by the three trailing boats left the US in sixth overall in 6:30.620.
Both Gevvie Stone ’07 and Robin Prendes ’11 — each of whom also competed in London — were B finalists in their respective events. Stone placed ninth in the single sculls, while Prendes finished 10th in the lightweight men’s four.
Former lightweight captain Tyler Nase ’13 took 15th in the lightweight men’s pair, while former heavyweight captain Ian Silveira ’12 took 20th in the men’s double sculls.