Fall competition concludes for Minutewomen crew
After a solid performance at the Dartmouth Head Regatta one week ago, the Massachusetts rowing team hit the waters in Boston at the Foot of the Charles this past weekend to conclude its fall competition.
“We did really well, figuring we had three novice eights racing, the Lightweight 8+ was the fastest of the Lightweight 8’s that raced,” UMass coach Jim Dietz explained. “We raced only two varsity fours because some of our top people were injured and two of our top people, Amanda Doolin and Kendall Bennett, were down in Princeton trying for the U.S. national team, and they did really well down there.”
The Lightweight 8+ boat was the strength of the Minutewomen on Saturday, finishing in seventh place with a time of 13 minutes, 47.10 seconds, and was seconds away from claiming a top five finish.
Racing without four of its top rowers because of injury or attendance at the U.S. Rowing Identification Camp, the two Varsity Four boats placed lower than usual, but against a very competitive field. The boats finished in 32nd and 46th place, respectively.
With the fall season finished race-wise, there is no doubt that work is still to be done and Dietz is very happy that the season is still going on through practicing and training. The team can really benefit from the extended week or so, compared to other years where they might not have had the same opportunity.
“What I’m happy about as far as the fall season goes is its still going,” Dietz said. “Normally by this time of year, we have the water turned off at the boathouse, its freezing cold, and we’re still off the water. We’re on the water, and we will be for another week at least, if not, more.”
As a result of the unusual extra week, the inexperienced novice rowers are really benefiting, and if all goes well practice-wise, the spring team will look as sharp as ever.
What Dietz and the rest of the coaching staff are doing is mixing the novice rowers with seasoned varsity rowers, which in turn will strengthen the novice class and make UMass a deeper and stronger team come spring.
“We’re mixing them with the best of the varsity athletes to enhance their training,” Dietz said. “They progress a lot faster when they’re rowing with better people.”
The work that will be put forth this week will go a long way towards the goal of a conference championship in the spring, and the training definitely will not and cannot stop after this week, according to Dietz.
The Minutewomen will travel to Florida in early January for their annual winter training session, and Dietz won’t accept any excuses for any of his rowers to not be in top shape heading into the session, and even went as far as to compare it to New England Patriots football players going into their first week of summer training camp.
“The winter training in Florida has got to be, from the day we leave here after exams in December until we get together in January, we can’t afford to take half a step backwards,” Dietz explained. “When they show up in Florida, they have to be ready to go and start racing competitively against each other from the very first day.”
“If you’re a Patriot, and you’re being paid millions of dollars, the first day you show up to camp they expect you to be able to go,” Dietz continued. “We’re not paying millions of dollars here, but our athletes have to have that same elitist nature that they got to be ready to go right from the very first day, and if they are, then we’re going to be in really great shape come spring time.”
Stephen Hewitt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.