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When the NCAA determined that its open rowing championship would be determined by the cumulative finish of three boats, it raised the importance of program depth by a significant amount.
That depth will be tested this morning when Princeton hosts Yale in the annual Eisenberg Cup regatta. While the Tigers have retained the Cup each of the last four years, the varsity showdown should be a tight battle between two of the league’s top programs over the last decade.
While the varsity eight will determine the eventual league champion, the second varsity eight and the varsity four hope to have a big impact if Princeton should return to the NCAA Championships at the end of May.
The second varsity hasn’t lost a regular season race since 2012, a stretch that includes a 6-0 start this season, with wins over Top-6 teams in Virginia and Brown.
“My boat has been developing really well through the course of the season so far,” junior Emily Burr said. “We are a pretty fast 2V and I feel like between the last couple of races we’ve really come together and ironed out the kinks a bit more. We’ve really found a way to groove together I think. Our last race against Cornell and Harvard was arguably our strongest and smoothest.”
The varsity four has had a more challenging start, splitting each of its first three weekends.
“Our boat has had a tough few weeks because we’ve been changing the lineup almost everyday, trying to find the best combination,” senior Sally Goodman said. “This can be frustrating sometimes but I think we’ve gotten a lot better at handing it throughout the season so far. Despite the loss last Saturday, the lineup we raced in showed clear progress over the couple days we were together, so I am excited to continue that development and gain some more speed over the coming weeks, whether or not there are more lineup changes.”
While the building process can be a challenge, races like the Eisenberg Cup regatta provide plenty of immediate motivation for boats to continue pushing forward.
“The tougher the competitor, the more psyched we get,” Burr said. “It’s really important how we do in season against boats like Yale or Brown, not only because they’re fast and we’ll see them at NCAAs likely, if we qualify, but also because they’re fast Ivy schools and we’re going to run into them again at Ivy Champs. Also, in all honesty, who at Princeton isn’t motivated by our school rivalry with Yale or Harvard?”
There is also the added excitement of starting a full morning of racing on Lake Carnegie. Goodman, who has precious few home races left during her senior season, will be savoring each race on the course she has grown to love.
“We are really lucky to have such a great course and facility so it’s awesome to have a bunch of home races this season,” she said. “It’s really fun when multiple Princeton teams are home and we are able to support one another. If they can, people often try to get to the end of the lake once they’re done racing to cheer for the other teams — it’s great to have such a big community at the boathouse.”
SATURDAY RACING SCHEDULE
Open Women vs. Yale
8:00 AM - Coxswain Meeting
9:00 AM - Varsity B 4+ & C 4+
9:20 AM - Third Varsity B 4+
9:40 AM - Varsity A 4+
10:00 AM - Second Varsity
10:20 AM - First Varsity, Eisenberg Cup
Lightweight Men vs. Penn & Georgetown
9:15 AM - Coxswain Meeting
10:40 AM - Third & Fourth Varsity
11:00 AM - Second Varsity & First Freshmen
11:20 AM - First Varsity, Wood-Hammond Trophy
Lightweight Women vs. Georgetown
10:40 AM - Coxswain Meeting
11:40 AM - Varsity 4+
12:00 PM - First Varsity & Second Varsity, 2006 Cup