Rowing team succeeds despite bad Oklahoma City weather

The Gophers won three-fourths of their races at their season’s first meet.

Nate Gotlieb

The Gophers women’s rowing team faced a “smorgasbord” of weather conditions this weekend at the Oklahoma Invitational in Oklahoma City, according to head coach Wendy Davis.

But the conditions didn’t stop the Gophers from making their first event of the spring successful.

The Gophers won three-fourths of their races, notching victories over Kansas, Tulsa, Kansas State and Oklahoma.  The team’s first and second varsity eight boats went 6-0 during the weekend. 

The team endured crosswinds and thunderstorms Saturday morning but raced in favorable conditions for the rest of the weekend, Davis said.

“To be able to go through those kinds of conditions is really important,” she said.  “And so I’m glad we experienced them, and I’m glad we learned how to handle them under stressful situations.”            

Davis said the Gophers made mistakes early in the weekend, but they corrected them in later races, according to senior Kayla Thom.

“You can fix as much as you want during practice,” Thom said,  “but until you are 1,500 meters into a race, you won’t be able to simulate the same fatigue and technique necessary to finish strong.”

Despite the early mistakes, the Gophers won nine of their 13 races Saturday and six of seven races Sunday.

The Gophers have finished fifth in the Big Ten for the last three seasons, but Davis said they have the pieces to improve their standing in the conference.

“We’re nowhere near top-caliber at this point,” Davis said,  “but we’re well on our way to being a legitimate contender.”