Gophers start rowing season in Tennessee

Minnesota hasn’t competed in live water competitions much this season.

Jack Satzinger

While temperatures in the Twin Cities have seen an uptick as of late, don’t tell Minnesota’s rowing team. The Gophers are still stuck training indoors.

“You could skate from one end of our training facility to the other,” head coach Wendy Davis said with a laugh.

Minnesota will get a break from the indoor training next week when it heads to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational.

That’s welcome news for Davis, who said training in the University Boathouse is like a baseball team practicing without the proper equipment.

“We can’t wait to trade our wiffle balls for a real ball,” she said.

While the Gophers can’t wait to jump into a boat on real water, there should be an adjustment period.

“We are racing other teams our first weekend with maybe a day back on the water, so that will be very interesting,” junior Lynn Hodnett said. “It will test our mental strength … but I’m super excited to race a couple times in a few days.”

Hodnett was a member of the Gophers’ first varsity eight last season. She said she feels more comfortable this season and is looking to grow more in races.

Minnesota has competed in scrimmages a few times this semester but has yet to partake in a regatta that counts.

The Gophers’ first exhibition was in San Diego in early February. Davis said the team was rusty but came back to the Twin Cities and worked on fundamentals that have helped it improve.

Minnesota competed in Sacramento, Calif., two weeks ago, and Davis said the team was much improved.

The Gophers hope to see more improvement on the water now that it counts. They’re curious to see where they measure up.

“We need to just see where we’re at in terms of racing,” senior co-captain Katherine Windsor said. “This is a good week to really solidify some of the things we’ve been working on so far.”

The Gophers’ other captain is senior Chelsea Miller. Windsor said growing into a leadership role this season has been seamless.

Davis agreed and said she’s ready to finally watch her athletes in the water.

“We have to go away to compete,” Davis said. “I’m excited for the season.”