By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Inside the Sue P. Beckwith boathouse on May 19, the University of Iowa women’s rowing team was silent as they awaited the selections for the 2019 NCAA Rowing Championships.
“You could hear a pin drop,” Iowa head coach Andrew Carter said.
Iowa was looking to earn an at-large bid as one of 22 teams to compete for a national title this weekend in Indianapolis at Eagle Creek Park.
Halfway through announcing the bids, Iowa’s name popped up and the boathouse erupted with cheers.
“When our name came up on the screen, you couldn’t hear anything,” Carter said. “I barely saw the screen because I was at the back of the room and everyone lept out of their seat.”
The bid makes it Iowa’s third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships in what is becoming the expectation for the team under its fifth-year head coach.
“We now have a junior class who only know qualifying for and competing at the NCAA Championship. The groundwork of training ethic was laid by those that came before and the current squad has done a good job of picking up that ball and running with it,” Carter said. “The confidence has grown to a level that they do see themselves belonging among these top teams, but there remains an understanding that staying there takes effort.”
The team continues to give its full effort after the student-athlete’s peers have left Iowa City for the summer. It’s an expectation of excellence that coach Carter hopes to transform into a tradition.
“A habit of being excellent in all that we do – both on the water and off,” Carter said. “That’s the stuff that will make the program sustainably competitive and our students incredibly competitive in whatever they do after graduation.”
Following the Big Ten Championships on May 19, the Hawkeyes returned to Iowa City to prep for their next race not knowing whether that race was at the end of the month or in the fall.
“We have a very young squad,” Carter said. “Our 2V8+ has five novice rowers onboard. That means a full week of focused training is a big deal. We’ve honed in on a couple key technical points for each crew and remained on those themes all week. We are getting better at boat-moving and applying that in a way that allows us to take advantage of our strengths.”
Eagle Creek Park serves as the NCAA Championships venue for the first time since 2014. 2019 was the first time in nine years that the Big Ten Championships were not held at Eagle Creek Park.
“We have a lot of experience there,” Carter said. “It is a course that has a reputation for being bad in the wins, but he weather for the weekend looks pretty decent, so my fingers are crossed. This is a big Championship with DI, DII, and DIII all racing on the same weekend.”
The NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships runs May 31 – June 2. A live stream of the event is available on NCAA.com. The Hawkeyes open the event tomorrow morning at 8:12 a.m. (CT) with the I Eight.