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Rowers head to Columbus for Big Ten Duals

BY RYAN MURPHY | APRIL 08, 2011 7:20 AM

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In a spring schedule that so far has included some of the nation’s top crews, the Iowa rowing team will get its first taste of Big Ten competition on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes will compete against Indiana and host Ohio State on a stretch of the Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio. The races against Indiana will begin at 8 a.m. CST, and the matchup with the Buckeyes will start at noon. The Hawkeyes will race two boats each in the varsity 8, varsity 4, and novice 8. The event also includes Bucknell, Louisville, and Rhode Island.

Iowa head coach Mandi Kowal said the team will try to put together its best performance of the season.

“We’re looking to make sure this series of racing is our best yet,” she said. “Not that it’s rocket science, but all the crews have got something specific they’re working on, whether it’s explosiveness or timing, or putting a sprinting sequence together.”

The Hawkeyes placed one boat — the varsity 4 — in the grand finals at the San Diego Crew Classic on April 2-Sunday, and Kowal said she was pleased with the performances of the varsity 8 boats as well.
Senior Darcy DeLong, who races in the varsity 4 boat, said the biggest goal for the Hawkeyes is to continue making strides from the Crew Classic.

“We really want to improve on where we were last weekend,” she said. “I think we ended in a really good place, and we want to just keep progressing from there.”

The Big Ten Duals is Iowa’s third event in four weeks, with the only break coming from the canceled home regatta against Minnesota scheduled for March 26. Kowal said the Hawkeyes’ hectic schedule gives the crews a lot of competition experience.

“We get another racing opportunity,” she said. “And I think our schedule is such that you get a lot of experience racing, and this is another one of those.”

The Hawkeyes will take a three-week break from competition following Saturday’s races before heading to Ithaca, N.Y., for the regular season finale.

In facing Ohio State, which is ranked seventh in the nation, the Hawkeyes get another chance to race against nationally ranked competition. The Hawkeyes have faced six top-20 crews in the season’s first two regattas.

Kowal said facing these top crews is a great opportunity for the Hawkeyes.

“We see a lot of tough competition, and I enjoy that, and I think the team enjoys that,” the Iowa coach said. “It brings out the best in your game, and it keeps everyone on her toes.”

Kowal noted that the Hawkeyes will need to perform at their highest level to accomplish their goals against the Hoosiers and Buckeyes.

Even though the squad is facing one of the best rowing teams in the nation on its home water, senior Haylie Miller said the squad isn’t going to Columbus for the racing experience alone.

“We’re facing some really tough competition,” she said. “But we want to go out and win all our races.”


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