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The fifth-ranked Princeton open rowing team has hit two of its three Friday goals during Day 1 of the 2014 NCAA Championships, and it will have another opportunity to complete a perfect day this afternoon.
The Ivy League champion varsity eight finished second to California in its opening heat, but a nearly six-second win over UCLA send the Tigers directly to the NCAA semifinal Saturday at 9 am. Princeton will race out of Lane 2, and will need a top-three finish to compete Sunday at 10:50 am for the program's third NCAA varsity eight championship.
Princeton will be joined in its semifinal by No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Brown and No. 8 Michigan, as well as two other boats that advance from the afternoon repechages. The other semifinal already has top-ranked Ohio State, as well as No. 4 Virginia, No. 6 Washington and No. 7 California.
In other words, the top eight boats in the nation held up their rankings during the morning heats.
The Princeton 2V, which went undefeated during the regular season and earned bronze at the Ivy League Championships, also advanced to the semifinals with a second-place finish in its heat. The Tigers had a tight showdown with Stanford, which the Cardinal pulled out with a strong final split, but Princeton topped Notre Dame by more than six seconds to advance to the semifinal.
The 2V8 semifinals haven't been announced yet, but the Tigers will either row at 9:30 or 9:40 am Saturday morning to compete for a berth in Sunday's 10:30 am national championship.
The Princeton V4 will need a second opportunity this afternoon if it hopes to compete in either the 10:10 or 10:20 semifinal Saturday morning. Both Brown and USC took control of the opening heat early and held a four-second edge on Princeton at the 500-meter mark. The Tigers never made up the gap and will need a top-two finish in the afternoon repechage (4:30/4:40 pm) to advance to Saturday's semifinals.
The varsity four advanced out of its repechage, and will race at 10:10 in the first of two semifinals. Joining Princeton will be Notre Dame, Brown, Stanford, Virginia and Ohio State.
The two boats that advanced to the V8 semifinal were Notre Dame and Harvard, while the two that advanced to the 2V8 semifinal were Washington and Washington State.
You can find all of Friday's times here.