How close was the finish between Columbia and Princeton? The teams needed to use the video at the finish line to determine that the Lions won by .1 of a second; Columbia took the win in 6:03.2, while Princeton topped Navy by 10.1 seconds in 6:03.3.
"Columbia did a much better job in the first 1000, using better water conditions to their advantage," said Princeton head coach Marty Crotty. "When the water and winds really picked up in the second 1000, I thought we came into our own and started making good progress."
"Off the line, it became clear very quickly that we lacked the same aggression that our competitors were willing to start with," said sophomore Ed Northrop. "I think that through the 1000m, conditions clearly played into our favor as we showed that we were more adept at handling the tough weather that all crews had to deal with."
The Tigers trailed by a length going into the second half of the race, but they continued to cut into that deficit until they ultimately drew even. The final sprint, however, belonged to Columbia, which left the Tigers at 2-1 on the young season.
"In the course of the regular season, I hope a race like that emboldens us," Crotty said. "It was a good, mature race, but we know we need to do a better job in the beginning."
The second varsity race had similar dramatics, though a different result. Once again, the Lions navigated the first half of their home course to gain a length lead; this time, Princeton would fully complete the comeback and earn the win by 4.4 seconds in 6:15.0.
Early results seem to indicate that this will be yet another tight pack for lightweight supremacy at both Sprints and the IRA Championships. Last season, Princeton topped Columbia in the regular season, then fell to the Lions in the postseason; the Tigers would love to flip that script this year. They understand the work that needs to be done first, though.
"The biggest implication of being in such a competitive league is the fact that the margin between a good result and a disappointing result is so miniscule," Northrop said. "This provides enormous motivation to make the most out of every session. Coupled with being part of a team that already has the kind of mentality of always moving forward, competitive pressure is really exciting as every training session provides even more improvement in boat speed. And going fast is of course the best thing about rowing."
Princeton will remain home for the next two weekends, starting April 12 when it welcomes Cornell in the annual Platt Cup regatta.
Second Varsity Eight