All four Princeton rowing programs made their competitive debuts this fall at the prestigious Head of the Charles, held this weekend on the Charles River in Boston.
The open women, coming off an Ivy League-best fourth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships, improved on its 2011 performance by finishing sixth overall and second among collegiate crews in the championship eights race.
Princeton topped its Ivy opponents with an adjusted time of 17:00.12, more than six seconds faster than its closest league rival, Radcliffe. Only the University of Virginia topped Princeton among collegiate eights; the reigning NCAA champion took third overall in 16:35.16. The USRowing eight won in 16:13.49.
Head coach Lori Dauphiny also had the top finish for a second varsity; the 2V finished 13th overall and fourth among all Ivy League boats in 17:23.15.
"We were very excited to have two eights entered this year," Dauphiny said. "The varsity eight finished up five places from where they finished last year and the 2V finished with some other 1Vs. It was a great team effort which is what you want."
The heavyweight eight took fourth among all collegiate crews (fifth overall) in an adjusted time of 14:52.55. The Tigers finished behind only Western powers Washington and California, as well as Harvard. Princeton did top a pair of New England powers, including reigning Ivy League champion Brown.
"It was breezy on the course today making for challenging conditions at points but the boat managed it well for the start of the season," head coach Greg Hughes said. "We have lots of good crews coming in for next week's Princeton Chase and we will be getting right back to work in preparation for the racing to come."
The lightweight men also felt good about their race, taking third overall and second among collegiate crews. Reigning national champion Harvard won the event on its home course in 14:35.71, while USRowing (stroked by Robin Prendes '11 and including Christian Klein '11) took second in 14:47.43. Princeton placed third in 14:58.24, edging out fourth-place Yale by less than one second.
Princeton also had a 2V place in the Top 10, finishing in 15:22.44; it was the top 2V finisher in the race.
"I put two very young crews out there today," head coach Marty Crotty said. "Both raced hard and the coxswains did a great job of staying out of trouble which is not easy to do. We get to do it all over again at the Chase and I'm interested to see how these guys do now that we have one of these under our belts and an additional week of prep."
The women's lightweight eight placed fourth overall in a time of 17:49.39. Radcliffe won the event, while Wisconsin took second ahead of Stanford. The Tigers put out a four as well, and they placed in the Top 10 in 20:38.41.
"We feel that the race is not indicative of the speed we have been showing in practice," head coach Paul Rassam said of his eights. "It's a missed opportunity. Our athletes feel that they just had a really flat race. Thankfully it is October and not May. The four on the other hand was happy with their race. They have made some nice strides over the past few weeks."
All Princeton crews will return to Lake Carnegie next weekend for the annual Princeton Chase. Check back to GoPrincetonTigers.com later this week for more information.