The Massachusetts rowing team looks to pick up a strong win against tough competition in this Saturday’s regatta in Dartmouth, New Hampshire, in preparation for May’s U.S. Rowing Collegiate Championship tournament.
The weekend’s regatta will feature races from the Varsity 8, the Second Varsity 8, the Lightweight 8 and the Varsity 4 boats.
The competition this weekend will be a huge factor, as the Minutewomen will be facing off against strong opponents in Dartmouth, Buffalo and Cornell.
Dartmouth is one of the premiere Ivy League crews with a 10-2 overall record. The Big Green are ranked 17th in the nation according to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association and are looking to improve their standings further against a determined UMass crew.
Buffalo, however, is the team that looks to be the biggest overall threat in this weekend’s regatta. The Bulls are fresh off of a Colonial Athletic Association championship run and are trying to show that they are one of the teams to beat in the Collegiate Championships. UMass coach Jim Dietz is not missing their argument.
“Buffalo is one of the strongest teams in the country, and I can definitely see them reaching the finals in the Championship regatta. Their crew is one that raises the bar for other schools across the country.”
Dietz understands Buffalo’s strengths and abilities well, considering his team was in that same position just a few years ago.
“We were always that team, but now others have taken our place as we find ourselves in the middle of a rebuilding year,” Dietz said.
It’s worthy to note that, in the Minutewomen’s rebuilding year, they have rarely finished below second place overall in any regatta. They have also placed in first and second consecutively in several different races throughout the season.
In preparation for their last three regattas of the year, most of the rowers have taken it upon themselves to practice on the water twice a day, getting their timing right and figuring out which combinations of rowers per boat work out the best.
“The more time that they spend on the water, the better they’ll become. We make sure that they don’t burn themselves out by having their second practices outside replace the time that they would have spent in Boyden working on rowing machines and in the weight room,” Dietz said.
In a sport like this, constant practice and repetition are key to a crew’s success. Hundreds of hours go into races that last at most six or seven minutes. Determination, camaraderie and commitment will be what help the team transition from a rebuilding roster to a championship contender.
“You don’t get good at rowing if you don’t have a day-to-day, year-to-year commitment,” Dietz said. “These girls have that, and they all want to enjoy the same type of success that this program has seen in the previous decade.”
In preparation for the upcoming championship regatta in New Jersey, Dietz is looking to concentrate more efforts on the smaller and lightweight boats. Those, he feels, are the boats that are really going to make a lot of noise in the championship bout.
David Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.