RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. -- The 103rd running of the Childs Cup regatta had been virtually all Princeton's … until Columbia electrified the Varsity Eights race with a closing sprint that nearly gave the Lions their first Childs Cup since 2009.
The Tigers had gotten off to a good start, and took the lead in the first 500 meters. With just 600 meters to go in the 2000-meter race on Overpeck Lake, they still led, with the host Columbia second and Penn third.
There is a waterside viewing platform at roughly the 600-meter mark of the course. Fans who had packed the platform and neighboring viewing sites in the expansive Overpeck Park layout saw Princeton approach the platform with an open-water lead. But if they looked away for a few moments, they saw a much different scene when they looked back.
"We had a push at 600 meters," Columbia head coach Mike Zimmer recalled, "and another at 400."
Fans on shore saw the Columbia eight appear to literally "walk" up on Princeton. Suddenly, the Lions were overlapping the Tigers' shell, and pouring it on.
Princeton, ranked fifth in the nation, reacted and sped up, but Columbia continued its surge. Zimmer and the Princeton coaches, following the race in launches, began to wonder -- could Columbia actually overtake the Tigers? The enthusiastic fans were already speculating.
"From 600 to 200 meters, the race was in doubt," Zimmer said. Then the Tiger eight dug in, and launched a little push of its own. It was able to expand a lead that had shrunk to three or four seats, and opened it up to three-quarters of a length as the three crews crossed the finish line.
Princeton was timed in 5:45.0 over the flat, windless course, just 2.5 seconds better than Columbia's 5:47.5, as Penn finished third in 5:56.2.
"I thought we had a very good row," Zimmer said of his 15th-ranked varsity eight. The other Lion boats did not fare well in the regatta, though the second varsity showed promise in finishing only 1.5 seconds behind Penn for second place.
Columbia rows in yet another prestigious regatta next Saturday when it meets Penn and Yale in Philadelphia for the Blackwell Cup.
The Childs Cup
Columbia, Penn, Princeton
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Overpeck Park, Ridgefield Park, N.J.
1. Princeton, 5:45.0
2. Columbia, 5:47.5
3. Penn, 5:56.2
Second Varsity Eights
1. Princeton, 5:49.8
2. Penn, 5:57.3
3. Columbia, 5:58.8
Third Varsity Eights
1. Princeton, 6:00.1
2. Penn, 6:03.7
3. Columbia, 6:11.0
Fourth Varsity Eights
1. Princeton A, 6:06.9
2. Penn, 6:13.0
3. Princeton B, 6:40.0
1. Penn, 7:05.9
2. Columbia, 7:25.4
Andrew Lake, cox; Buck Goggin, stroke; Alexander Simmonds, 7; Clemens Auersperg, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Mike Donohue, 4; Alex Barkume, 3; Emmett Gross, 2; James Glynn, bow
Second Varsity Eight
Vivian Zhang, cox; Sam Harris, stroke; Charles Wu, 7; Elliot Meade, 6; Matt Ridgeway, 5; Josh Fram, 4; Ben Coombs, 3; Connor Jones, 2; John Clapp, bow
Third Varsity Eight
Andrew Tang, cox; Daniel Kolbe, stroke; Noah Whitehead, 7; Christian Aral, 6; Jack Michaud, 5; Max Lawton, 4; Phillip Fletcher, 3; Brent Laurint, 2; Zach Ellenbogen, bow
Fourth Varsity Eight
Columbia did not enter a fourth varsity eight
Debbie Levine, cox; Connor Murphy, stroke; Max Lindemann, 3; Jake Petterson, 2; Rob Cornacchia, bow