Expectations high for women’s crew

first_imgComing off of a dominating performance at their first event of the year, the UW women’s rowing team is expecting to have a successful season.At the Milwaukee River Challenge, which took place after only two weeks of practice for the Badgers, the fours competed first capturing the top five spots, while the three other boats placed in the top 20.As for the eights, the four boats competing grabbed the top four finishing spots.Other than a great start, the Badgers have a lot to be excited about this season. “I think things are going very well especially with our first year in the boathouse,” head coach Bebe Bryans said. “It makes everything easier, especially for the novices.”The Badgers will spend their first full season in the brand new Porter Boathouse on Lake Mendota that was officially opened Apr. 22. The boathouse is a three-story, state-of-the-art facility at the end of Babcock Drive. The 52,000-square-foot crew house includes an impressive moving water rowing tank, workout rooms, sports medicine facilities, the program’s Hall of Fame, team locker rooms and coach/staff offices.In addition, the lightweight eight varsity team, coached by Mary Shofner, is the reigning national champion two times over, having won the NCAA Division I women’s lightweight eight national title in 2004 and 2005.”The open weights are hoping to join the lightweights who have set the standard for what can come out of this boathouse,” Bryans said.With the stern three rowers of the last two championship teams graduating last year, the Badgers will have big shoes to fill, but Bryans called this the “beauty of rowing.” She said, “There isn’t just one [rower,] it’s a team effort, and you need to be strong top to bottom.”This season the team will be racing a lot more than last year, especially in the spring, with hopes that their ability to work hard all season will pay off in the end.”We have a really good schedule, competing against the [varsity open weight] national champions (University of California-Berkeley) two times this year at the Crew Classic and then again in Indiana,” Bryans said. “Last year four schools in the Big Ten went to the national championships and we will be racing all of them, so we’ll be ready.”To prepare for this strong competition, Bryan wants a more aggressive approach to the team’s racing this season.”I think it will be a natural progression from the work we did last year … and we want to be faster, it’s simple,” she said.With high hopes of a three-peat for the lightweight team and hopefully a championship for the open weight team for the first time in a while, the Badgers are looking good early on and appear poised to do great things this season.Saturday the Badgers can be seen participating in Class Day Races, a traditional event in which current rowers, broken down by class, race against alumni boats.Oct. 1 also marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of UW-Madison’s lightweight program which has seen much national success in its first ten years including second place finishes in 2001 and 2002, a third place finish in 2003, and back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.Wisconsin will be back in action competitively Oct. 9 in Rockford Illinois at the 20th Annual Head of the Rock Regatta.last_img

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