Third-Ranked Lights Open 2014 With Strong Depth, Momentum From Charles Win
VIDEO PREVIEW WITH SCOTT TINSMAN
Head coach Marty Crotty didn’t know what to expect from the lineup he had chosen earlier that week when Princeton went out for the Head of the Charles.
He was, however, plenty happy with the result. Princeton, ranked third in the season-opening USRowing Collegiate Poll, topped reigning national champion Harvard by more than eight seconds to win the 2013 title.
"Winning the Charles was amazing," sophomore Cameron Howie said. "The result was a great starting point for the season and legitimized the training we had been doing until that point. That being said, we know that a lot can change between October and May. Winning gave us a lot of confidence moving into the winter. We now know how close we are to a championship win, and we have been using this as motivation."
“There wasn’t much prep time for that,” Crotty said of Princeton’s win during the prestigious fall competition. “I picked that lineup, but I didn’t coach it. You hope with some refinement and more coaching, you can go even faster than that. But it was a good sign, a good start. It’s nice to have one lineup in my back pocket.”
Of course, there are a number of hungry rowers who want to keep that lineup in his pocket. Princeton will open its season this Saturday morning at 11 am when it takes on Georgetown for the Fosburgh Cup. The competition will complete a full morning of racing on Lake Carnegie; see below for a full schedule.
“We’re already in the early selection process,” Crotty said. “We have some guys who weren’t up to a level of consideration at this time last year, but they improved physically and owned their technical development.”
Princeton returned the majority of its varsity eight from last year’s Eastern Sprints, including senior captain Scottie Tinsman.
“He has really improved each year,” Crotty said. “He has been able to focus more on his improvement and rowing. I think we all recognize that the varsity result in the postseason isn’t what we hoped, and he has embraced the understanding to get better technique and get better physically.”
Tinsman has been equally satisfied with the development of his teammates.
“Workouts have gone really well,” he said. “We are faster, fitter and stronger than we have been in the past. We got on the water a little later than normal, but I think we have made up for it with a more productive Spring Break training week, as well as our training trip in Tampa. Going forward, I think we’ll be strong and ready to go.”
Crotty and new assistant coach Bill Manning, who had a long and successful coaching career at Harvard, have helped develop a deep group of contenders for the top boat. Because of that, Crotty is planning to let his freshmen develop their own boat.
“That group had solid winter training, and they are getting some great coaching,” Crotty said. “They should come along well, and I think they can compete for freshman titles.”
Of course, it’s not impossible that a member of the class could find himself in the varsity eight at some point, but Crotty wants the group to develop together and not feel the immediate pressure of varsity expectations.
With the competition for seats ongoing, Crotty knows that the best Princeton boat may still be a month away from hitting the water. As long as that boat is ready to line up at Sprints, he’s fine with it.
But Tinsman knows that the foundation from the Charles is a solid one to build upon.
“Winning at the Charles helps reassure the team that we’re on the right track,” he said. “It shows us that we’re working together, and the depth of our team. We’re working together for a common goal.”
"A lot of rowers on the team have emerged this year as powerhouses on both the erg and the water, and there are currently a ton of people in the running for the varsity and jv," Howie said. "I wouldn’t say that there has been any change in dedication from last year. What has changed is the level of competition within the team. It’s great to see everyone working together to make each other faster, and ultimately help the team achieve our goal of winning the Jope Cup."
The official racing season opens this weekend for three of the rowing teams, and each will compete at Lake Carnegie. Below is the full Saturday schedule.
Princeton Heavyweight Men vs. Syracuse & Georgetown
8:00 AM - First Varsity
8:10 AM - Second Varsity
8:20 AM - Third Varsity
8:30 AM - Fourth Varsity
8:40 AM - Fifth Varsity
Princeton Open Women vs. Brown & Michigan State
9:00 AM - Varsity Four C
9:20 AM - Varsity Four B
9:40 AM - Third Varsity/Novice
10:00 AM - Varsity Four A
10:20 AM - Second Varsity
10:40 AM - First Varsity, Class of 1987 Trophy
Princeton Lightweight Men vs. Georgetown
11:00 AM - Third, Fourth & Fifth Varsity
11:20 AM - Second Varsity & Third Varsity
11:40 AM - First Varsity, Fosburgh Cup