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Coach’s Summary 2014 Occoquan Sprints

Full Results Here

Novice Men

by Coach Mike Bayersdorfer

The novice men’s team had a solid day of racing at the Occoquan, with most rowers getting three races in during their final tune-up before the championship racing season. The day opened with heats for the Novice Men’s 8+ event, and the Tribe put in a strong showing, finishing second out of five boats- behind Navy’s A boat and in front of UNC-Chapel Hill, Liberty, and West Virginia, and earning a spot in the Grand Final.

From there, the 8+ split up to race in the Novice Men’s 4+ event, which was heats-only. In the Novice Men’s 4+ event, the lightweight 4+ took home first place, and the heavyweight 4+ took third behind the light 4+ and UNC, and in front of Old Dominion, Duke, Maryland, and James Madison. The race was extremely tight, with only 0.57 seconds separating first from third place, and until the results were posted it was unclear which of the three boats had crossed the line in first place.

The novice men then had a very quick turnaround for the Novice 8+ Grand Final, where they faced the Navy A and B boats, UNC-Chapel Hill, George Mason, and Virginia Tech. The Tribe took fifth, behind Navy A and B, UNC, and Virginia Tech, falling just short of overtaking Tech in a tight sprint to the finish. The day represents a strong step for the Novice Men, who have gone from finishing a minute and a half behind the UNC 8+ at the Hooch to beating them in heats, and from finishing 23 seconds behind the Virginia Tech 8+ at the head of the south to finishing two seconds behind them yesterday. The novice men will look to continue that improvement in two weeks at the SIRA regatta, where they will race a lightweight 4+ and a heavyweight 4+.

Novice Women
by Coach Emma Rudebusch

Unfortunately, due to timing constraints, the Novice Women’s 4+ only faced two of the four other crews in their heat.  The boats of Dayton and George Mason both were late to the start and in order to not further delay the regatta, the officials did not wait for them to begin the race.  However, despite this, the women placed second in their heat against Navy and CNU and their net time when compared to the other WN4+ finals was the fourth fastest overall!  After the start of the race, the 4+ settled their rating to 30 strokes per minute and fought to keep the Navy crew from walking through them.  Unfortunately, Navy was able to pull ahead during the sprint to win by eleven seconds, but by that time CNU was two and a half minutes behind an impressive margin.

Varsity Men
by Coach Jason Mitchell

The varsity men were able to face some familiar foes this weekend in the form of VCU, Liberty, George Mason and UofR.  All of which we will see again in the upcoming regattas.  The past week leading up to Occoquan Sprints were not particularly easy on the Varsity Mens squad though.  Academia was the main focus for the squad all week, not allowing either boat to practice in their race lineup.  Despite this setback, both boats were able to get out of the starting blocks with near perfect starts allowing them to be in the lead packs through the first 500m.  However, when battling for position, the inexperience of the lineups showed to be the main factor slowing the crews down today.  Unfortunately we did not get the results we wanted, but it did show us exactly what we need to work on to be ready to race at SIRA in two weeks. Video of the entire lightweight 4 race is shown below.

Varsity Men Lightweight 4: 4th out of 6 crews
Varsity Men 4: 4th in Heat, 13th of 21 overall

Varsity Women
by Coach Graham Ludmer

This past weekend the tribe traveled to The Fairfax, VA, to participate in the annual Occoquan Sprints.  This year, the varsity women entered (2) fours and (1) pair.  The first race of the day for our squad was the Women’s 2- (the pair),  and was stroked by Christine Laroche and bowed by Camila Fishtahler.  This race was the rowers first time racing other crews, and racing in a fully buoyed (or any buoyed) coarse.   Rowing a boat without a coxswain, both rowers were a little nervous about rowing outside of their lanes.  However, despite the nerves they were able to tackle the challenge and rowed a strong race.  beating out 4 other squads, they rowed through the finish, in their lane :), and in first place!

The second event we participated in as a squad was the Varsity Women’s Club 4+ event, in which we entered 2 boats.  In the Mary Mitchell, our new Vespoli 4+, we had Mairin Haley, Erin Brown, Jessie Viss, Jessica Beckett, and Kate Kalaris.  Eager to show the rest of the teams present how hard they had worked over the winter months, they launched feeling focused and determined to win.  True to their goal, they crossed the finish with a comfortable lead to win gold in their club event!  Their overall time (7:51.51)  was beaten only by only one other women’s four that day, the boat from the D1 program Navy, in a separate event.  The second 4+ planned on racing in the Mary Lewis, and were going to “hot seat” (use equipment for multiple events with very little time in between to adjust) into the shell immediately following a novice men’s race.  However, as launch time approached, the second 4+ were left on the dock waiting for their boat to return.  After more than a few tense minutes, news came around that the novice men had missed their event, and they were still up at the start line!  Quickly acting, the 2nd Varsity Womens 4+ bolted up the hill at Occoquan to grab the Montague, and launched shortly after.  Despite having a some what shortened water warm-up and an unexpected shell change, they were able to make it to the start on time and pull into the blocks ready to race.  Coxed by Amanda Williams (a novice), and rowed by Christine Laroche, Kalan Brehm, Camila Fishtahler, and Anya Voloshin (a novice), they had a strong race and finished 4th in their event.

Overall ranking,
Varsity Women 2-:        1st out of 5 crews
Varsity women 4+ (A):   1st out of 11
Varsity Women 4+ (B):  5th out of 11

I am very proud of all the boats, for many reasons.  The pair, for overcoming the obstacles of learning to steer a straight coarse AND getting first!  The 4+ (A) for showing the pay off of hard work over winter break, and showing that even though we are club, we can keep up with other varsity level boats!  last but certainly not least, the 4+ (B)  for racing as well as they did, with only having 1 practice previously together, being flexible and switching to a shell they never rowed in that season, and still beating out over half the club and varsity programs in overall time!

As a coach, days dont get much better than Sunday, April 6th.  Way to go ladies, way to go Tribe!