Women’s rowing has successful trip to Boston regatta

The Minnesota women’s rowing team traveled to Boston this weekend hungry for competition. At the Head of the Charles Regatta, the Gophers wouldn’t be starved.
The competition started before Minnesota was even in Boston. With just two boat entries (an eight and a four) for its 21-member team, there was a fight just to make the trip.
The team took 17 members to Beantown (two alternates and three coxswains in addition to the 12 rowers).
During Friday’s cardiovascular training, the team crossed the Boston University bridge and caught a sight of the largest rowing competition in the nation. There were 6,500 rowers and hundreds of teams at the race.
Add to that the presence of national teams vying for seats in the 2000 Olympics and the Minnesota rowers made it through that practice on adrenaline alone.
But the real test came Saturday on a 3-mile course with treacherous bridges and tight curves in front of 300,000 spectators. The four-woman boat finished 47th out of 53. The eight-woman team finished 21st out of 75 boats, with a time of 19:21.
The soon-to-be varsity team’s solid effort in the eight-woman race was magnified by the fact that they were 10 seconds out of fifth.
And who was in that boat? Three of the Gophers coaches.
Saturday’s club events were followed by Sunday’s more prestigious races, with highly trained national teams and varsity programs — the latter being the focal point of Minnesota’s envy.
Minnesota will join the varsity ranks in 2000, and couldn’t help but be envious — after all, they are a team that practices next to the boiler-testing site on the Mississippi River.
And that same varsity status that is on the horizon is what is causing some worries on the team. For some, the day of Minnesota’s next Head of the Charles Regatta, on the third Sunday of October, 2000, is already circled in red ink.

— Submitted by Michelle Hass of the Minnesota women’s crew team