2015 Men's Eastern Sprints

Yesterday I went to support the Princeton lightweight and heavyweight men at Eastern Sprints, their conference championship. Sprints takes place in Worcester, Massachusetts, about a five hour drive away from Princeton.

 The heavyweight men's 1V races in the heats at Eastern Sprints

The heavyweight men's 1V races in the heats at Eastern Sprints

It was a bittersweet day for me- while I had an awesome time photographing and cheering for the tigers, I know that this is likely to be the last time I'm able to do so. Although IRAs is close to home at Mercer Lake this year, it clashes with my graduation!

 The lightweight men's 1V rows in the heats

The lightweight men's 1V rows in the heats

The Princeton crews did an awesome job out on Lake Quinsigamond (hardest ever word to spell) - the top three boats of both teams medalled.

 The lightweight men's 2V rowing to a third place finish in the finals

The lightweight men's 2V rowing to a third place finish in the finals

Especially exciting was the fact that the heavy men's 2V and 3V both got gold medals. And in the rowing world, gold medals mean...

 Heavy 2V coxswain Jill Barton '16 gets some air

Heavy 2V coxswain Jill Barton '16 gets some air

...cox tosses! It's traditional for the winning boat to toss their coxswain into the lake and then jump in themselves. Always makes for an awesome photo op! 

 Casey Ward '15, Henry Ogilby '17, Trip Henningson '16 of the 1VL pose with Coach Marty Crotty

Casey Ward '15, Henry Ogilby '17, Trip Henningson '16 of the 1VL pose with Coach Marty Crotty

In the end, the lightweight men's 2V beat their fourth-place seed to secure bronze medals, and the 3V snagged silver. The 1V also took bronze, leading to Princeton's second-place finish in the running for the team points trophy.

 The heavyweight men won the Rowe Cup, awarded to the team with the most overall points

The heavyweight men won the Rowe Cup, awarded to the team with the most overall points

The heavyweight men's 1V finished third, just 0.3 seconds back from Northeastern, claiming the bronze medal. However, the team's spectacular overall performance won them the Rowe Cup, awarded to the team with the highest number of points in the 1V, 2V and 3V events. 

 The light men's 2V huddles up after their race

The light men's 2V huddles up after their race

One of my favorite things about the sport of rowing is the camaraderie, and the deep bonds that form between teammates and coaches. Those bonds really come out on race day, and especially during big regattas like Sprints, and it's always fun to capture.

 Patrick Watt '18 shakes hands with Coach Marty Crotty after claiming bronze in the 2VL final

Patrick Watt '18 shakes hands with Coach Marty Crotty after claiming bronze in the 2VL final

That's what I'm really going to miss about the sport. Being injured this year was tough- I'd be lying if I said I really missed erg tests, but every time I see a crew out on the water, I get pretty nostalgic. Former rowers have a tendency to wax poetic about how good it feels during those moments when you have eight people rowing perfectly in sync, but there's some truth to the trope. I feel incredibly lucky to have had coaches and teammates who've let me stick around, stay involved and given me that camaraderie and support that makes the Princeton rowing program so amazing. I'm going to miss it.