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Rowers ready for Big Tens

BY RYAN MURPHY | MAY 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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All season, the members of the Iowa rowing team have talked about making each race their best.

With the Big Ten championships looming on May 15, the Hawkeyes know that nothing short of a season-best performance will be needed.

Held at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, the conference switched to a seven lane, finals-only competition, as opposed to a two-heat qualification format. Iowa senior Haylie Miller said the format changes require each team to be at its best for each race.

"We want to go out and have the best race that we've had," Miller said. "It's one race, and we're done, so we have to nail that first race."

Iowa head coach Mandi Kowal said each Hawkeye boat is preparing for the regatta's one-and-done aspect.

"You've got just one shot, so you better make sure you got your game on, and you got your best race on that first shot," she said. "Each boat has something it's working on, and I think our boats have gotten pretty consistent."

Of the six other Big Ten schools with rowing — Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin — three appear in the national top 20 and two others in the "also receiving votes" category. Ohio State is the favorite entering the regatta, with the conference's top seed in three races.

Iowa's top-ranked boat is the first varsity 4, which enters the races with the conference's No. 5 seed. The second varsity 4 and the second novice 8 received a sixth seed, and the first novice 8, first varsity 8, and second varsity 8 boats got No. 7 seeds.

Kowal said the top competition the Hawkeyes have faced throughout the spring season has prepared it for the conference championships.

"We've seen ranked teams all season long," she said. "In that sense, this is just another regatta."

Kowal points to the San Diego Crew Classic as an example of what to expect in the Big Ten championships. The Hawkeyes raced six lanes across in the April 2-3 event, and they will race seven lanes across in Indianapolis, an aspect Kowal said will make the races very exciting.

Senior Allison Lofthouse said facing the Big Ten's best gives Iowa a chance to make a mark in what could very well be the final race of the team's season.

"We definitely looking to make a statement to the other teams, as well as ourselves," she said. "If this is our last race, we want to go out and be happy with how we performed."

Kowal said the event should be fun to watch, and the talent of the Big Ten will make it a very competitive regatta.

"The day is going to go by really fast," she said. "The Big Ten is strong, and a lot of teams are finding speed at the end of the season, so it's going to be really exciting."


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