Iowa rowing ready to hit the water

BY TOM CLOS | MARCH 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa rowing team is ready to get back out on the water after a three-month hiatus; the Hawkeyes haven't competed since hosting the Head of the Iowa meet on Oct. 30.

Head coach Mandi Kowal said the break between the fall and spring presents new challenges each year, but it also gives the team time to make adjustments.

"You take the fall, and you do long rowing pieces; then you regroup in the winter and redefine the things you want to work on," she said. "Between that November and March phase, you have so much time to make a difference."

The Hawkeyes have been working on incorporating their race plan into workouts, as well as tightening the technical aspects of their performances.

"We've switched up our training a lot this year," senior Chloe Zwiacher said. "The team dynamic feels really positive, and everybody's really driven right now."

The team has been champing at the bit to get outside and see if its hard work will pay off.

"We've been working really hard, and I'm excited to actually race six boats across," senior Sarah Radke said. "I want to see where our training has taken us — hopefully, to the next level."

Zwiacher and Radke are two of eight seniors the Hawkeyes will look toward to guide them during the spring.

"We do a lot of reaching out to underclassmen," Zwiacher said. "If someone's having a rough day, we'll go talk to her and try to get her into a better place."

Iowa has seven recruits coming up to the varsity team from the novice boats, and the seniors said they're trying to make that transition as smooth as possible.

"We've been incorporating the new recruits into Iowa rowing and what it's about," Radke said. "We've been embracing them and showing them what we do and how we want them to row with us."

Kowal said seniors spent the break working on what they want to be remembered for when they depart at the end of the spring.

"Each class has a legacy they would like to leave on the program," she said. "Their leadership is important."

The seniors have one other legacy they would like to continue in their final season.

"We have a tradition: We always run into a celebrity on the road," Zwiacher said. "We saw Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Murray in a souvenir shop."

Iowa rarely hosts meets in the spring season, instead spending the majority of its time on the road. This year is no different; Iowa hosts only two meets, on March 24 and April 7.

While several rowers said they enjoy having their friends and family see them compete in person, they said nothing is as fun as when they travel around the country.

"We usually only have one home meet, so it's exciting to have two," Zwiacher said. "But nothing can replace the travel; it's amazing."

Kowal says the rowers always receive plenty of support from their fans, no matter where the meet is.

"We have an amazing group of traveling parents," Kowal said. "Whether we're in San Diego, Indianapolis, or Boston, they follow us."

The Hawkeyes will get their spring season underway when they head to Clemson, S.C., on March 17.

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