Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By BREANNA KELLOGG
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s rowing team reached its third, and most rewarding, milestone of the 2017 season on May 16 when the team was selected to the NCAA Championships for the second time in program history, ending a 16-year drought dating back to 2001.
“This selection moves the posts for the team,” said head coach Andrew Carter. “Each year, the expectations they have and the standards they set for themselves, and the ones we’ve set as a group, have shifted. This is another part of that process. The intent from this point forward is that it be less of a milestone and more of an expectation — that this level of performance is a sustainable thing.”
This milestone was achieved by a team that broke its national poll record four times throughout the season, peaking at No. 11 in the country in the April 25 CRCA/USRowing Poll. They also broke the team point record at the Big Ten Championships on May 14, scoring 116 points to tie for fourth place.
This Hawkeyes have spent the last nearly four years working toward earning this opportunity. Now, they are excited to show the nation what they can do.
“The chance to compete at the NCAA Championships means the world to them,” said Carter. “The reaction to the announcement said it all. The pent up emotion they had over this, they managed it well, but it has been building for long enough. They certainly let it out.”
The selection show marked a highlight for Carter as well.
“One of the toughest things that I have to do in my job is to help people manage the emotion of coming up short of what they wanted to do,” said Carter. “One of the best things I get to do is stand by and not have to manage their emotions when they achieve what they want to do. Selection day was a good day for me as a coach.”
The NCAA Championship will offer up the best competition in the country, but the Hawkeyes are up to the challenge. With some of the best teams coming from their own conference, they have been battle-tested by stiff competition all year. Four other Big Ten teams – Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana – were selected to the NCAA Championships, making the Big Ten the most-represented conference at championships.
Iowa’s preparation for the national competition is similar to the Big Ten Championships, but with even more focus. Only three boats — I Eight, II Eight, and I Four — will compete at the NCAA Championships compared to the seven that traveled to the Big Ten Championships.
The mental approach is simple.
“The mental approach is staying true to who we are and the path that has enabled us to get to this point,” said Carter. “We didn’t want to change a whole lot. We don’t want to be too distracted by achievements as they come. We’ve celebrated but then we’ve gotten right back to what we were doing so that we can finish.
“We’re excited about being selected and about the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships, but being selected wasn’t the only goal. It’s good to be excited about getting your acceptance letter to your top-choice university, but you still have work ahead of you to be able to get that degree. The victory is not just in being accepted. The victory is in finishing the job. That’s what we have to remember.”
The Hawkeyes compete in the 2017 NCAA Championships from May 26-28 in West Windsor, New Jersey.