UMass sweeps top four singles races at Head of Fish

By Neil Carroll

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The Massachusetts rowing team had another solid showing last weekend, as the Minutewomen raced in the Head of the Fish Regatta in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Sunday.

In the team’s sixth competition this year, the Minutewomen placed boats in first place in the singles and the Lightweight 4 races. Julia Richter finished first in the singles race with a time of 14 minutes, 32.73 seconds.

UMass sophomore Emily Boucher finished 41.59 seconds behind Richter in the singles race as the Minutewomen swept the top four spots. Junior Liz Euiler and senior Sam Smith finished in third and fourth places in the race with times of 15:30.31 and 16:18.66 respectively.

UMass head coach Jim Dietz has been training the Minutewomen using the singles and doubles boats throughout the season and was happy with the team’s success.

“For the entire week we focused on small boats and it’s the small boats we did well in,” Dietz said.

In the Lightweight 4, UMass also took first place. The boat finished in a time of 15:17.54 and was led by Amy Nash, co-captain Ana Tocco, Megan Donovan and Ali Donzanti, and was coxed by Carly Payne.

UMass’ Varsity 8 boat finished in a close third behind a boat from Ithaca and Vermont. The Minutewomen in that race finished only 2.78 seconds behind the second place boat. The Varsity 8 boat was coxed by junior Samantha Schnoerr and is rowed by Smith, Kelsey Schachter, Ali DiMatteo, Amanda Doolin, Katelyn Allocco, Meredith Kearney, Meghan Rodgers and Rachel Spielberg.

Dietz was satisfied with the results from the boats in the Varsity and Junior Varsity 8 races because his rowers had not been practicing in the larger boats all week.

“I thought that those guys did really well in that, they hadn’t been in the 8 all week, and the competition we’re going against was pretty strong,” Dietz said. “Overall their times compared to the other teams were pretty good.”

The Minutewomen have been gaining momentum this season while they have strung together a couple of impressive showings against a high level of competition. Although rowing is typically looked at just as a sport of endurance, the UMass team has successfully found a combination of cardio and strength training that is evident in the results from races like the Head of the Fish.

“It’s a question of mileage and getting physically stronger,” Dietz said on his team’s routine. “As we’re going into these races from race to race we’re not backing off on training and not backing off on weightlifting because that’s essential to getting faster.”

Dietz also believes that his team’s success is due in part to the way that they train in the water. He and the rest of the coaching staff use an uncommon method of training the team in only smaller boats in order to get a better measure of a rower’s individual talent and effort.

“Very few people do it the way we do it,” Dietz said. “It gives you more accountability as to the work level of the individual and the skill level of the individual.”

This weekend UMass will have a week off as the team looks to prepare for the last two events of the fall season. On Nov. 7, UMass freshman rowers will head to Hanover, N.H., to gain experience in the Dartmouth Novice Head.

Neil Carroll can be reached at [email protected]