April 29, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Iowa women’s rowing team competed at the Big East Invite on Saturday on a 2000-meter course at Eagle Creek Reservoir. The Hawkeyes faced Louisville, 15th-ranked Notre Dame, Rutgers, Syracuse and West Virginia. Iowa advanced its Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 boats to the grand final.
The Varsity and 2nd Varsity 8 crews raced in rough conditions in the morning heats, with wind and chop in the first 1000-meters of the race. Iowa’s Varsity 8 boat placed second in its heat to qualify for the afternoon grand final. By mid-morning, lighting storms forced officials to evacuate all boats from the water and delayed racing for two hours.
In afternoon grand finals, Iowa’s Varsity 8 came back with a solid performance and closed their gap on Notre Dame from 15.7 seconds in the heats to 6.6 seconds. In some of the closest racing of the day, Iowa stayed in contact with Notre Dame and Syracuse for the first 1250 meters. At this point the crew had a slight lead on Louisville who made a strong move with 500 meters to go, but Iowa answered back. Iowa finished third in the grand final with a time of 6:47.6. Notre Dame placed first at 6:41.0, while Syracuse finished second (6:41.6) and Louisville posted a fourth place finish (6:51.2).
“We held our composure and responded with a big move pulling our boat 3/4 of a length up on Louisville,” said Head Coach Mandi Kowal. “We kept that momentum through the finish line beating them by 3.6 seconds. Notre Dame was the eventual winner nipping Syracuse at the line by .6 seconds. It was a good race and even though we were a bit short in getting Notre Dame and Syracuse, we raced well enough to upset Louisville, who was seeded ahead of us for the regatta.”
The Hawkeyes 2nd Varsity 8 crew made it down the course before the storm blew through and advanced to the grand final. The boat posted a second place finish in its morning heat, finishing behind Syracuse by 3.5 seconds. The Hawkeyes went on to claim a third place finish in the grand final with a time of 6:55.0. Notre Dame won the event with a time of 6:47.4. Syracuse came in second (6:48.5) and Louisville finished fourth (6:59.9).
The Varsity 4’s were called off the water before the storm arrived but resumed with heats following the delay. The wind calmed down slightly after the storm passed but the first 1000-meters continued to be rough.
Iowa’s Varsity 4 crew advanced to the grand final after crossing the finish line second in their heat with a time of 8:18.1. During the grand final, Iowa came on strong in the last 500 meters. Gaining almost a boat length in their sprint, the Varsity 4 had a tight finish across the line with Louisville. The Iowa crew beat their time from the heats, finishing in 8:06.3, placing fourth overall in the event. Notre Dame won with a time of 7:44.9, followed by Syracuse (7:55.7), and Louisville (8:05.1).
“Now we head into our final two weeks of preparation for Big Ten Championships,” said Kowal. “There is plenty to work on and we plan to continue as our team has done all year long. They continue to learn and improve with each day. The plan is set and we will get back to work Monday morning. The Big East invite was a great tune up for Big Tens and we look forward to the Championship.”
The Hawkeyes return back to Eagle Creek Reservoir on May 13 to compete at the 2012 Big Ten Championships.