Finally on open water, boats have strong showing vs. Tennessee

Josh Katzenstein

The Gophers rowing team spent the duration of spring break in Tennessee, starting with two scrimmages, before opening the spring season.

Despite being relegated to rowing machines because the Mississippi River remained frozen into March, the women did fairly well, winning three of five races in a nonconference meet against Tennessee.

âÄúWe feel great about what we accomplished with only one week of water time,âÄù head coach Wendy Davis said in a statement.

The Gophers opened the break with scrimmages against Notre Dame and Alabama before using the rest of the week to train in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

In SaturdayâÄôs competition against the 16th-ranked Volunteers, MinnesotaâÄôs first varsity eight boat lost by less than 3 seconds, but Davis said it was more of a training experience than a hard-fought race.

âÄúThe 1V8 stuck to the plan to keep the stroke rate at a 30 [strokes per minute] in order to establish our power base,âÄù Davis said. âÄúThat being said, we were able to stay with the Tennessee crew throughout the race.âÄù

The Gophers beat the Volunteers in the second varsity eight by 2.3 seconds, and MinnesotaâÄôs first varsity four narrowly edged the first of TennesseeâÄôs two boats by .4 seconds. The GophersâÄô second varsity four lost by more than 23 seconds.

Minnesota also had an encouraging performance with a victory by the novice boat. The GophersâÄô better boat of eight underclassmen beat TennesseeâÄôs boat by nearly 16 seconds. Minnesota raced two novice boats in the leg, and the second finished about a half second behind TennesseeâÄôs.

âÄúOur novice boats were powerful, nicely handling their first time on the starting line,âÄù Davis said.

Minnesota opens its spring conference schedule with a dual against Iowa next Saturday in Iowa City.