What a difference a week makes.
One week removed from the largest race of the year, the Head of the Charles, the Massachusetts rowing team took home eight first-place finishes and three second-place finishes in the Head of the Fish regatta in Saratoga, N.Y, this weekend.
“We’ve been building towards this for a while now,” UMass coach Jim Dietz said. “We’re gaining more confidence as the weeks go by and we are finally getting into a good rhythm.”
Leading the way for the Minutewomen was Claudia Caballero Larco, who took first in the Collegiate 1x with a time of 15:37.47. Not only did Caballero Larco take home first, but the second-place finisher from Colgate finished more than 24 seconds behind her.
“She is gaining more confidence and starting to get in a rhythm,” Dietz said of Caballero Larco. “I feel at the beginning of the season she was racing too hard and wasting energy. Now she is much more fluid and as a result performing much better.”
Lauren St. Pierre and Marika Kopp finished with a time of 16:16.66 in the Collegiate Open-2, giving UMass its second gold of the day.
In the Lightweight 4+ boat Abigail Raichek, Hallie Dunlap, Meghan Rubbo, Sam Wonderlin and Estefi Marti Malvido earned a first place time of 16:14.69.
The 8+ entry team also walked away with a first place finish, posting a time of 13:08.37, 15 seconds faster than the second place team from Wesleyan College. The Collegiate 8+ boat consisted of Heather Pekarovich, Taryn Wilson, Emily Mann, Gabrielle Hayward, Nicole Juul-Hindsgaul, Allanah Rubi-Mooney, Marika Kopp, Lauren St. Pierre and Claudia Caballero Larco.
The Novice 8+ also shined for UMass, winning first place with a time of 14:42.99. Competing in the Novice race was Haley Eovine, Haley York, Pippa Edwards, Catherine Murphy, Teagan Rolf von den Baumen, Natalie Boisbert, Emily Mann and Sam Wonderlin.
When asked about what the victory meant to the program Dietz said, “It shows that better athletes are coming through the doors. Girls come in with the mindset that they can succeed at this program and a win like that proves just that.”
Next weekend the rowing team has two regattas, the Green Monster and the US Rowing Fall Regatta, which closes out its fall season.
“It’s important we end on a good note,” Dietz said. “These next two to three weeks are going to be critical though. We can only send out small boats, and that means coaches are going to be on the water nonstop from about six in the morning to six at night. We’ve built a solid base for our fall season and it’s time we keep improving.”
Andrew Cyr can be reached at email@example.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.