PENNSAUKEN, N.J. -- Six Ivy League schools advances boats to the semifinals after the first day at the 110th Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships being held on the Cooper River.
Brown and Harvard each have their varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity eight moving on to Friday's semifinal heats with Cornell, Penn and Princeton each sending its two varsity eight boats forward.
Harvard's V8 and 2V8 opened the morning with wins in their first two races while the Crimson's varsity four placed second in both of its heats to advance. Brown also had an impressive day on the water, starting with its varsity eight boat winning its heat by nearly a full length. The Bears' second varsity and varsity four boats finished second in their heats.
Princeton had both its varsity eight and second varsity eight qualify directly from the morning heats. The Tigers' varsity eight found itself in a morning heat with reigning champion and 2012 favorite Washington, but the Tigers knew only a top-two finish was necessary for advancement. Princeton, which lost to Cornell in the regular season, topped the Big Red for second place by more than one second and Northeastern by more than two. Princeton also crossed the finish line just over a second ahead of Cornell in its 2V8 heat to secure the automatic spot to the semifinals.
Cornell recovered in the afternoon repechage as both of its varsity eight crews took first in their races to earn semifinal spots.
Yale had its varsity four make it to semifinals on a third-place finish in its heat. The Bulldogs' varsity eight had to rebound in the afternoon repechage following fifth-place showing in the morning heat. Yale came in just behind Syracuse to grab third place and a spot in Friday's semifinals. Its second varsity boat fell to advance to the semifinals placing fourth in the repechage.
Finishing 4.4 seconds ahead of Yale's second varsity eight was Penn, making it back in the semifinals for the third time in four seasons with sights on improving upon its 11th-place finish from a year ago. The Quakers' 2V8 regrouped in the rep fourth-place finish to start the regatta. Penn's varsity eight is also in the semifinals for the first time since 2006. The Quakers' V8 posted a top-three finish in the repechage, outdistancing George Washington by 3.2 seconds for the advancing position. Penn was called upon to navigate an extremely fast repechage, with the top three teams in Penn's rep all finishing ahead of the first-place team in the other rep.
Dartmouth's varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four boats did not make it to the semifinals and will each compete in Saturday's third level finals.
The Ivy crews are back in action at the IRAs Friday morning with the heavyweights battling for a chance to compete for the national championship. The top three boats from each semifinal will compete Saturday morning in the grand finals.