Minnesota to take a look at novice rowers

The team plans to have every member of the roster race over the weekend.

Mike Hendrickson

Minnesota will race its first Big Ten event of the season this weekend in Iowa City against Iowa and Indiana.
The Gophers plan to race all members of their roster at the event, which will allow the team to evaluate some of its novice rowers for the first time this season.
Minnesota’s first novice eight boat competed in the San Diego Crew Classic last Sunday and placed fourth in their race against six other teams.
“The race in San Diego … showed that we definitely need to get much cleaner,” novice coach Claudia Herpertz said. “There was a lot of splashing going around.”
Herpertz said the novice group has been working on correcting individual mistakes, like not removing an oar from the water quickly enough and slowing the boat down.
One of the members of the field on Sunday was the University of San Diego, who the Gophers first novice eight boat also raced against in a scrimmage in February.
The first novice eight boat beat San Diego by 12 seconds on Sunday, and Herpertz said she liked the progress the boat showed between the two races.
“It was a pretty good weekend overall,” Herpertz said. “It was all their first race ever, really. [I’m] definitely happy with their [performance].”
While the Gophers finished in the bottom half of their race, the schools they competed against generally have fewer walk-ons than Big Ten schools, head coach Wendy Davis said.
Saturday’s competition will give Minnesota a chance to race against teams with similar rosters and help the team better look at how it stands.
“The three teams that came ahead of us essentially have all recruited athletes,” Davis said. “Now in the Big Ten, there’s kind of more of a mix like what we have. … This is a chance to see where we stack up.”
The team’s varsity boats will also get a sense of their place in the Big Ten after winning four of six races in New York last weekend.
The Gophers first varsity four was one of the boats that placed second, and assistant coach Cassie Drozynski said she thought the group exposed one of its flaws.
“One of [our weaknesses] was our starting,” Drozynski said. “We’re really working on having a strong start so we can get out in front.”
The first varsity four has been practicing its race starts over and over in workouts this week, and Drozynski said the boat has been working on its first minute of race time as many times as it can.
“It’s just about getting out there and making sure that we’re clean, that we’re crisp and that we know exactly what’s going to happen,” she said.