At the start of the season, Princeton rowing head coach Lori Dauphiny was admittedly more nervous about her team's hopes for reaching the 2013 NCAA Championships. With changes to qualifications, Dauphiny thought her team might need to sweat out Tuesday's Selection Show.
Of course, that all changed Sunday, when Princeton won both the 2013 Ivy League championship and one of 11 automatic spots to the NCAA Championships.
While Tuesday's show may not have been as dramatic, a return to the NCAA Championships is no less exciting to a program that has been there every year since the inaugural event in 1997.
"We're very excited to return to the NCAA Championships," Dauphiny said. "It's an honor to compete with the best teams in the nation, and we will be proud to represent both Princeton and the Ivy League in Indianapolis. Our team has worked hard for this opportunity, and I'm excited to see how we perform."
Princeton, ranked fifth in the latest CRCA national poll, won its 13th Ivy League title Sunday at Cooper River when it defeated Yale by nearly seven seconds in the grand final. The Tigers also won their second straight team points title; each of their top five boats medalled at Ivies, including a golden performance from the third varsity.
Unlike the Ivy League Championships, the NCAA title will be awarded to the program with the best aggregate point total between the varsity eight, second varsity eight and the varsity four. During the regular season, those three boats combined to go 25-5.
Princeton earned the second overall seed among the varsity eight, and will open in Friday's second heat. The 2V is the sixth seed and will compete in the third heat, while the V4 is the fourth seed and will compete in the second heat.
Princeton has finished in the top five eight different times at the NCAA Championships, including fourth-place finishes in both 2011 and 2012, as well as a third-place finish in 2010. Last season, all four of its boats qualified for their respective grand finals, and the varsity eight finished fourth overall.
Princeton has won three individual gold medals at the NCAA Championships. In the inaugural event in 1997, the second varsity took gold. At both the 2006 and 2011 Championships, the first varsity rowed away to national titles. Three members of the 2011 varsity eight (Molly Hamrick, Kelsey Reelick and Heidi Robbins) were part of the varsity boat that won the Ivy League title last weekend.
The NCAA Championships will be held May 31-June 2 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.
Varsity • Second Heat
Princeton, UCLA, Stanford, Brown, Boston University
Second Varsity • Third Heat
USC, Princeton, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Marist
Varsity Four • Second Heat
Ohio State, Princeton, USC, Stanford, Rhode Island