When head coach Lori Dauphiny wants to see the leaders of her women’s open crew, she looks toward the ends of the shell. Seniors Lauren Wilkinson and Michaela Strand row in the stern, while Emily Reynolds and Ashton Brown work from the bow seats, forming a “senior sandwich,” Dauphiny said. So far, it has been a winning recipe.


The women's open varsity eight is ranked No. 1 in the nation heading into this weekend's race against Virginia, Tennessee, and Columbia. (Tom Nowak/Office of Athletic Communications)
After an impressive victory at the Head of the Charles Regatta in October, Princeton entered winter training as one of the nation’s top contenders. The Tigers opened the spring with wins in their first five races, beating six top-20 teams and earning the No. 1 spot in the national rankings. On April 30, the Tigers will host No. 5 Virginia, No. 19 Tennessee, and Columbia on Lake Carnegie.
In Dauphiny’s view, the team is still “a work in progress,” led by veteran rowers and fueled in part by a near-miss at the Eastern Sprints last season, where Yale edged the Tigers by less than a second. This year’s team has exceptional depth, an important factor at the NCAA Championships, where the title is decided by three boats – the first varsity eight, second varsity eight, and varsity four. Princeton’s second varsity boat, stroked by Catherine Parkhurst ’11, was undefeated in its first five races.
At the Princeton Boathouse, the spring is shaping up to be a stellar one. In addition to the women’s open crew, the men’s and women’s lightweights also were unbeaten through April 23, and the men’s heavyweights had a single loss – a 1.2-second defeat against Harvard, the defending Eastern champion.
This Saturday will be a full day on Lake Carnegie, with the men’s heavyweights hosting Brown for the Content Cup, the women’s lightweights facing Georgetown for the Class of 2006 Cup, and the women’s open crew racing against Virginia, Tennessee, and Columbia. The men’s lightweights will travel to Cambridge, Mass., to compete for the Goldthwait and Vogel cups against Harvard and Yale.
All four Tiger teams will vie for Ivy titles at the Eastern Sprints May 15. The women’s races will be held on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J., while the men’s races will be contested at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass.