First-year head coach Marty Crotty ’98, tracking the race from his bicycle, liked what he saw in the final 600 meters. On the IRA’s Cooper River course, Crotty said, “You’ve got to be pretty bold. It’s not a place where you can lay back and wait to make your move.” Princeton finished in 5:36.07, an IRA men’s lightweight record.
The champions featured four holdovers from Princeton’s undefeated 2009 crew: Jack Leonard ’10, James Donovan ’10, Christian Klein ’11, and the stroke, Robin Prendes ’11. Newcomers Gianthomas Volpe ’12, Barrett LaChance ’11, Alex Rubert ’12, Nick Donald ’11, and coxswain Michael Perl ’11 rounded out this season’s lineup.
The men’s lightweights headlined a strong spring for Princeton rowing that included 11 medal-winning performances at the Eastern Sprints and several notable efforts in national championship races.
The women’s open crew tied its best finish ever at the NCAA Championships, placing third in the overall standings at Lake Natoma, Calif., May 28–30. In addition to the team honors, the varsity eight earned an NCAA bronze medal in the regatta’s marquee event, finishing behind Yale and Virginia. Two weeks earlier, in a memorable Eastern Sprints showdown, Princeton and Yale outpaced the other varsity-eight finalists by more than 10 seconds. The Bulldogs supplied the decisive push, edging the Tigers by 0.77 seconds.
In the women’s lightweight division, Princeton’s varsity eight was the top Ivy League boat at both the Eastern Sprints, where it finished second to Wisconsin, and the IRA Regatta, where it placed third behind Stanford and Wisconsin. This year’s varsity eight was remarkably young, with only one senior rower — captain and stroke Justine Hausheer ’10.
The men’s heavyweight crew entered the Eastern Sprints with plenty to prove after placing a disappointing 13th last season. This year, the fifth-seeded Tigers outperformed their ranking, finishing in second place, 2.5 seconds behind a strong crew from Harvard. Three weeks later at the IRA Regatta, the Tigers placed 12th overall, sixth in the petite final. The program’s top IRA performance came from its freshman eight, which captured bronze in the novice grand final.