While nobody on the fifth-ranked heavyweight rowing team would confuse a regular-season race with the Eastern Sprints, there is still something special about the traditional Cup races that fill up the team’s Saturday mornings in April.
And no trophy has the same tradition as the Childs Cup.
The 102nd Childs Cup regatta will be held at Overpeck Lake this weekend, and for the first time in the history of the regatta, Princeton will come into the weekend with the all-time series lead. Winners in 18 of the last 19 meetings between themselves, Penn and Columbia, the Tigers have won three straight in this series.
“To be a part of something as historic as the Childs Cup is really something I enjoy as there really isn’t anything else like it on our schedule,” senior captain Michael Evans said. “I feel like it’s this historic element that really brings home the message that Princeton rowing is so much greater than just the guys on your team, and to think that there was someone just like you racing for this Cup every year all the way back to 1879 is just one of the many things I love about this race.”
Penn defeated Princeton by 12 seconds in 1879, and the Tigers have been playing catch-up ever since. They finally pulled ahead last season on Lake Carnegie, topping Penn by more than 13 seconds.
Of course, Princeton is more concerned about both the present and near future than it is with history. The Tigers have won all three races this season, including last weekend’s victory over 10th-ranked Navy.
“The first two races this year have been encouraging in that we came away with wins and that we learned a lot about where we need to improve from both a technical and tactical standpoint,” Evans said. “Neither race was by any means perfect, which is to be expected so early on in the season, but we were able execute on the fundamental points we’ve been working on indoors throughout the winter season.”
Racing begins at 9 am, and will continue every 20 minutes through 10:20 am, when the first varsity competition will be held. Penn comes into the weekend ranked 13th, while Columbia is currently 15th. Penn placed third in the San Diego Crew Classic last weekend, while Columbia topped a trio of New England schools, including Ivy rival Dartmouth, last Saturday.
All eight Ivy League schools are currently ranked inside the Top 20.