The Princeton women’s lightweight crew staged a dramatic final race against Stanford in the 2011 IRA grand final, which the Cardinal won by the slimmest of margins. That was a Princeton crew long on both speed and experience; the 2012 team is definitely gaining speed, and it will pick up great experience this weekend as well.
In all likelihood, that will pay greater dividends in future years, but in one race, who knows? The fact is, this youthful roster has given head coach Paul Rassam all it can this year and has shown improvements throughout the season.
How high the 2012 ceiling is remains to be seen, but the Tigers hope to at least be part of that 11 am grand final on Saturday at Cooper River. Heats will be held at 8:30 am on Friday, and a repechage will follow at 12:45 pm. A top-two finish in any of those races will give the Tigers one more shot at the top programs in the nation, including two-time IRA champion Stanford and reigning Eastern champion Wisconsin.
A late mishap left the Tigers in fifth at the Eastern Sprints, but that is yet another piece of the learning curve for a roster loaded with young talent. The novice eight placed second at Sprints, which is another strong sign for the future of the program.
But the future can wait one more weekend, because the Tigers are looking to make some magic in the present this weekend.