Saturday, June 02, 2007

Princeton Rules the Four... Again

After rarely racing the boat all season, and almost missing out on an invitation to the race, Princeton boated a four at IRAs yesterday that staked its claim to fastest four in the nation. Winning the gold (yes, there were medals even if the correct ones will be coming in the mail) by 6 seconds over second place Wisconsin, and almost 13 seconds over third place Lawrence, the Tigers were emphatic in their statement of speed.

Princeton was somewhat less emphatic off the start, however, as they found themselves in third or fourth place after 20 strokes. As the 500 approached, the nature of the race began to become clear with Wisconsin up on Princeton by 3 or 4 seats, and Lawrence maintaining contact in third. Princeton put on what turned out to be the decisive move just after the 500 as they pulled even with the Badgers, who had no response. With every stroke moving them a few inches farther away from Wisco, Princeton just cranked it up to the finish line.

It was a nice row for the Tigers who were handed nothing by Wisconsin and Lawrence. Wisconsin also had a nice race, but just couldn't stay with Princeton. These boats were no doubt rowing together for only a few weeks so a fast race like this shows some skill and determination. Lawrence, on the other hand, showed that a small club program can hang with the big dogs. More than hang, they beat two Sprints schools and capped off a fantastic season. Judging by their margin over fourth place Duquesne (8 seconds here vs. 5 at Dad Vail), Lawrence stepped up it's speed over the last few weeks. They'll have a happy drive back to Appleton. Duquesne should also be proud of their season, also beating two Sprints schools (Georgetown and Radcliffe) in finishing fourth.

While there was a large spread within the field, some of that was certainly due to a bit of a late notice for the race (so not all invitees could make it) and the six boat only final. With more entries and heats, this race could certainly become an exciting addition to the regatta. As it was, this year's race was one of the more interesting on the schedule, although that was mostly because of the "unknown" factor.

The biggest loser of the race was absent Pitt. Certainly all of the competitors would like to have seen Pitt in the field, and with Princeton beating Pitt's Dad Vail margin over Lawrence by 5 seconds, the Tigers have every right to claim to be the fastest four in the land. In an ironic twist of fate, Princeton only got an entry slot because Pitt declined their invitation. To be sure, I doubt Pitt's absence was a case of the Panthers running from a fight, but with late notice of their invitation the crew just couldn't rearrange schedules to get to the regatta. That's too bad because it would've been a heck of a race.


Anonymous said...

It's funny that you would rather rank the teams on margin of victory and ignore the fact that Pitt placed ahead of Princeton at Head of the Charles. I would have thought that actual races would come before theoretical ones.

Aaron Benson said...

Using margins from the spring is a better method for three reasons:

1) It is unlikely that the lineups for both boats (especially Princeton) were the same in the fall.

2) Way too much time has elapsed, during which any number of things could have happened.

3) Different types of fitness and race execution are required for a head race than a sprint.

Direct competition is better than conjecture, but comparing a sprint to a sprint from the same season is preferable to comparing a fall race to a spring one.

JW Burk said...


Anonymous said...

"As other readers have noted, this year's event will not settle any questions of the fastest four in the nation."

Anonymous said...

the fastest four in the nation only raced at one race, neither against pitt or princeton

Anonymous said...

"the fastest four in the nation only raced at one race, neither against pitt or princeton"

And who would that be?