Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The 1972 Eastern Champs

TigerBlog is currently putting together all of the photos he needs for the upcoming women's history book. 

To that end, he has gone through hundreds of pictures, trying to find the right mix. There is a lot of text written, and it needs the proper balance of good pictures to make it work.

Of course, the question is what makes a good picture? In the context of what is essentially a history book, the need is for pictures that take you back to the moment to help tell the story. In those cases, it's okay if they're not the sharpest color, or for that matter no color at all. 

Take this one, for example.

This is one of TB's favorites in the book.

The picture is of the 1971-72 women's open rowing team. It was the first varsity women's rowing team that Princeton had.

Specifically, this picture is from the 1972 Eastern championships, in Old Lyme, Conn. William Wallace, who covered a lot of Ivy League athletics in his day and himself a member of the Yale Class of 1945, wrote this in the New York Times:

The Northeastern crew that won the Eastern college sprint championships last Saturday is a big, brawny group, averaging 195 pounds in weight, 6 feet 3 inches in height. The Princeton crew that won a similar championship last Sunday went about 140 pounds in weight, 5 feet 6 in height, and was devoid of bulging muscles. The Princetonians were women and they rowed very skillfully, reflecting the three months of 1½‐hour workouts at 6:30 A.M., five days a week. The Princeton girls—it is impossible to call them Tigresses or Tigerettes — followed the traditions. They threw their coxswain and coach off the dock afterwards. They drank champagne and sang, “Going Back to Nassau Hall, to the Best Old Place of All.”

That's great stuff. TB, by the way, knew Wallace well from all of his years covering Princeton events, particularly football, before Wallace passed away in 2012. 

The story Wallace wrote about the race is fascinating for TB, in that nearly 50 years later, the thoughts of Princeton captain Amy Richlin and fellow rower Carol Brown were identical to what they told TB when he interviewed them last fall for the book. 

Both Richlin and Brown are quoted in Wallace's story. They talked about Richlin's flyer that helped her recruit the initial women who rowed for Princeton, including her famous quote of "The way I figure it you wouldn't be at Princeton if you liked to do things the easy way.”

TB emailed the picture to Richlin and Brown last week to get their help in IDing the rowers. For the record, here they are:

Cox Mary Wadsworth, stroke Margit Roos, 7 Amy Richlin, 6 Carol Brown, 5 Janet Younghold, 4 Cate Huisman, 3 Maurya Meenan, 2, Lindsay Poole, bow Cathy Bradley. 

Richlin also said this:

I forgot to say how IMPORTANT it was that, by our first spring as a recognized team, we had the WONDERFUL, DEDICATED, TALENTED Al Piranian as our coach, a truly great man who took us seriously from the get-go and coached us to that Eastern championship! ... He was the one who got up for our 6 AM practices before going on this job as an engineer. He was the one who drove that limo full of rowdy oarswoman, parked it when we stopped for a meal on road trips and put up with us singing 'Happy Birthday' to him at every one of those meals!

Brown went on to win an Olympic bronze medal in 1976. Richlin is currently a classics professor at UCLA.

The stories that they, and Youngholm, told TB for the women's history project were great. Reading the New York Times story confirmed that the three of them also have great memories.

You can read the story HERE.

If you didn't, here's how it ends (the answer is 1) yes, they do and 2) yes they did even back then):

Now that women are launched in crew, will they follow the men, not only in the traditions like betting shirts, but also in the heavy training and dedication required to win at the highest competitive levels?

No comments: