After week of open water practice, Gophers believe times will drop

Minnesota was on Lake Phalen this week, and head coach Wendy Davis said some boats improved by 2 seconds.

Josh Katzenstein

 

The Minnesota rowing team wonâÄôt even be in Boston until Thursday night, but the Gophers already feel somewhat disrespected by their opponents in this weekendâÄôs Charles River Challenge.

Minnesota will square off against Harvard, Syracuse and Dartmouth on Saturday while Northeastern, Boston University and Louisville compete against each other in another heat. When Ohio State makes it to Bean Town on Sunday, the top team from each Saturday group will face the Buckeyes, leaving the worst teams to row against the Gophers.

âÄúWeâÄôre already seeded as a lower seed,âÄù senior captain Teresa Logemann said. âÄúThat kind of fuels our fire.âÄù

The Gophers enter this weekendâÄôs meet after winning just one of 12 races against Michigan and Michigan State last week in the Big Ten Double Duals. For the first time in months, though, theyâÄôve had a chance to practice on open water in Minnesota after starting to work out on Lake Phalen in St. Paul this week. Some boats improved by as much as 2 seconds between Monday and Tuesday, head coach Wendy Davis said.

âÄúIâÄôve been much calmer this week,âÄù she said.

Although the team is fortunate to be on the water âÄî something Davis said last week might not be possible until April 23 âÄî Lake Phalen is not ideal for practice because the coaches cannot go out with the team. Instead of tracking the women with a motor boat, Davis bikes around the lake to watch and must yell her critiques to the team. This puts more pressure on the coxswains to steer the boat the proper direction, which Logemann said hasnâÄôt been an issue so far.

The Gophers also made some lineup changes heading into the weekend. In the first varsity eight boat, Logemann will move from the bow seat into the seventh seat. Senior Molly Kalmoe will move up to the bow.

âÄúItâÄôs a different feeling,âÄù Logemann said. The bow is two inches higher than her new seat, and she said she just has to remind herself to row the same way. âÄúWeâÄôll see how it goes this weekend, but itâÄôs been good so far in practice.âÄù

The Gophers would like to try other lineup changes, Davis said, but the lack of water time makes it difficult to experiment.

The Charles River Challenge should still be a good test to see how much Minnesota has improved in the past week. Harvard is ranked No. 18 in the nation in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll. Ohio State, meanwhile, enters the weekend ranked No. 9, and the Gophers, Louisville and Dartmouth âÄî which posted fast times against Minnesota in the Princeton Chase in October âÄî are all receiving votes in the national poll.

âÄúIt is going to be a good competition for us,âÄù Davis said. âÄúItâÄôs a good mix of really fast crews, so we can see where we rank.âÄù