West Windsor, N.J. — The University of Iowa women’s rowing team competed in day one of the NCAA Championship today on the Lake Mercer course in Central New Jersey. All three crews competed in heats in the morning, and repechages in the afternoon for a second chance at getting in the A-B semi-final.
The morning heats started for Iowa with the 15th-seeded I Varsity 8 first to take to the water for the Hawkeyes. The race got underway with 2nd-seeded California and 7th-seeded Michigan jumping out to an early lead. The Hawkeyes gave hard chase, solidifying a third-place position, pulling away from 10th-seeded Washington State and Gonzaga. At 1000 meters, Iowa started a surge towards the leaders, eating into the leaders’ margin and threatening for one of the coveted top-two spots. The Hawkeyes ran out of room at the finish, coming up a mere 1.89 seconds short of the Golden Bears to finish third.
The 13th-seeded II Varsity 8 were up next in a tough field that included 4th-seeded Michigan and the 5th-seeded Longhorns from Texas. The Hawkeyes got off to a strong start and sat only a second down and virtually level with Stanford at the 500m. Texas hit their stride in the second 500m with Stanford fighting to keep contact with the leaders. The Hawkeyes settled into a conservative fourth, positioning themselves for the afternoon repechage round.
The 16th-seeded I Varsity 4 found themselves in an early battle with Texas for second place, with top-seeded Washington leading the field. Only .03 seconds separated the Hawkeyes and Longhorns at the 500m but Texas began to assert themselves in the second quarter. By the 1000m mark Texas had increased its lead to two seconds and they never looked back. At the finish, it was Washington and Texas with the top-two spots with the Hawkeyes in third position followed by Notre Dame and the ACC Champions from Virginia in fifth.
“I thought some good jobs were done this morning,” said head coach Andrew Carter. “They stuck with how we do things. Their races unfolded very well. I think that they rowed clean races in brisk tailwind conditions and they stayed in their tight and tough with some top end competition.”
With only the top-two finishers in each heat advancing directly to the A/B Semi-Finals, each of Iowa’s three crews rowed in the afternoon repechages for their second chance to progress to the A/B semifinals tomorrow.
In the afternoon session, it was the Varsity 4 who found a new gear, getting off to a strong start, leading the pack from wire to wire. The repechage win came over runner-up Virginia, with perennial powerhouse Brown in third. Big ten rival Indiana, Washington State, and Navy rounded out the field. The wins earned the crew a coveted spot in the A/B Semi-Finals on Saturday.
“It was an awesome race,” said junior Ashlynn Bauer. “The conditions weren’t ideal but we’ve practiced with windy conditions and with the tail breeze pretty much all season. We knew how to handle it and we just stuck to what we know and came out on top.”
The I Varsity Eight were in a constant battle to claim one of the last two spots in the A/B semifinal. At the 500m mark, it was Virginia grabbing the lead with Brown holding a half a length lead over Iowa, who had a half-length finish over Syracuse and Northeastern. The Hawkeyes stretched out over Syracuse in the second 500m to solidify the third place position. It was Northeastern who moved up to challenge the Hawkeyes in the third 500m but a surging finish from the Hawkeyes held off the challenge and allowed Iowa to eat into the leaders’ advantage. Iowa ran out of room, however, coming up a mere 1.2 seconds short of Brown and second place. The 1V8 advances to the C/D semifinal Saturday.
The II Varsity Eight crew battled early with leaders Yale and Princeton, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace over the entire 2000m distance. With a fifth-place finish, the Hawkeyes advance to the C/D semifinal Saturday.
Iowa will compete in the semifinals Saturday, with the Varsity 8 crew starting off at 7:24 a.m. (CT).
I Varisty Eight
Eve Stewart, Kaelynn Heiberg, Izzy Dolba, Victoria Bricker, Morgan Grastorf, Kat Tillman, Ashley Duda, Cristy Hartman, Georgia Sanderson (coxswain)
II Varsity Eight
Baillie McCunn, Dani Bender, Hannah Greenlee, Gemma Kerr, Contessa Harold, Megan Sprengeler, Sarah Powell, Rachel Canon, Faith Wieland (coxswain)
Ashlynn Bauer, Bianca DiBellonia, Claire Rutherford, Katie Pearson, Logan Jones (coxswain)