The last few weeks of the Princeton heavyweight season haven’t been for the faint of heart. That’s good, since the next few won’t either.
In the span of 15 days, which concludes this Saturday morning on Lake Carnegie, the fifth-ranked Tigers will have competed against teams ranked third, fourth, sixth and seventh in the latest national poll. Princeton will try to split its record at 2-2 during its annual Content Cup showdown against No. 6 Brown this weekend.
“Brown is always a very fierce opponent,” junior Timothy Masters said. “I personally have a lot of respect for their program, and they’re in many ways in a similar position to us having lost a few close races to tough opponents. Whoever wins this weekend will certainly take some positive momentum into the final two week of training before Sprints.”
Brown leads the all-time Content Cup series 12-8; it has won each of the last two meetings, as well as six of the last seven. Princeton’s lone win since its 2006 Ivy League championship season came in 2011, and that race was decided by less than three seconds.
Princeton has a more recent history that it is more focused on, though. Over the last two weeks, the Tigers have seen sizable early deficits cost them in losses to both No. 3 Yale and No. 4 Harvard. It is hard enough to make up that deficit against one boat, much less the five that the Tigers will face at Sprints, so Princeton knows it must fix that problem immediately.
“I think much of the deficit in the last two races has been the product of lacking internal focus on our own boat movement under race pressure,” Masters said. “We need to race up to the potential we have shown at moments in our training. Hopefully the nature of six-lane racing at the Sprints will stop us fixating on the boatspeed of our opponents and focus rather on our own speed.”
While Princeton will be looking for a win, it will also try to send its Class of 2014 out with a victory during its final race on Lake Carnegie. The Class of 2014 wasn’t eligible to race in the varsity boat when Princeton defeated Brown in 2011, so no member of the boat has ever held the Content Cup.
More than anything, though, Princeton knows it needs to continue progressing en route to the Eastern Sprints, held May 18 at Lake Quinsigamond. A victory over a top program like Brown would give the Tigers a trio of Top-10 victories over the last four weeks.
“Peaking during the championship races is obviously the most important part,” Masters said. “But winning dual races builds confidence, so while winning the championship races is the end-goal, winning the dual races is still important as it gives a crew belief in it’s ability to win."
The final home date of the Princeton racing season is this Saturday, beginning with the Content Cup showdown. Following the women’s race, the PURA will dedicate a boat to head coach Lori Dauphiny.
SATURDAY HOME SCHEDULE
Heavyweights vs. Brown
8:00 AM - Coxswain Meeting
9:00 AM - Fourth Varsity
9:20 AM - Third Varsity
9:40 AM - Second Varsity
10:00 AM - First Varsity - Content Cup
Open Women vs. Clemson
9:40 AM - Coxswain Meeting
10:40 AM - Third Varsity
11:00 AM - Varsity A & B 4+
11:20 AM - Second Varsity
11:40 AM - First Varsity