The Gophers rowing team spent spring break in Tennessee enjoying warmer spring weather, but the trip wasn’t a break. Minnesota competed multiple times and practiced on its days off.
“They certainly improved,” head coach Wendy Davis said.
The Gophers first competed at the Oak Ridge Invitational on March 15-16. They opened with a morning loss to a highly touted Virginia squad but followed that with victories over West Virginia and Dayton in the afternoon session.
Minnesota looked like a much-improved team a day later, sweeping Alabama.
The Gophers were hankering for the chance to get in a real boat after training indoors over the last few months.
“It’s just great to actually be outside and moving a boat instead of sitting on an erg,” junior Lynn Hodnett said.
Minnesota had another regatta Friday at the University of Tennessee, but it used the days between competitions to focus on training. The Gophers held two practices per day, partaking in competitive “seat races” in the morning. Hodnett said the races are a way to figure out which combinations of rowers are faster than others.
The Gophers made a change to one of their first boats after the seat races, bumping Nicolette Marquardt up a spot. She had never been in the first group before, but she excelled in a more technical role at the bow of the boat.
After the morning seat races, the Gophers spent the second practice of the day focusing on specific things each rower can improve upon.
“It’s tiring having two practices every day, and we battled through it really well,” Hodnett said.
The improvement that resulted from the twice-a-day practices was on display in the Gophers’ final race at Tennessee on Friday. Minnesota swept the Volunteers across the board to cap a productive road trip.