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IU rowing set for biggest race of the year



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Members of the IU women's rowing team row during their competition at Lake Lemon in early-April. Yulin Yu Buy Photos

IU will compete in the Clemson Invitational, one of the most prestigious competitions in the country, on Saturday morning. The race includes three of the top five teams in nation — No.14 Washington State, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Texas.

In addition, the field includes eight of the country's top twenty teams, including the No. 20 Hoosiers. Junior rower Abigail Armstrong said she knows the importance of this opportunity.

“This is one of the largest regattas, if not the largest in the country, and it has some of the best East and West Coast schools that we don’t usually get to see,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong will also get to race against two other schools – No. 19 Duke — that she had offers from. She chose IU instead of those two schools mainly because of the coaching staff and IU Coach Steve Peterson.

The invitational will be a two-day event that takes place Saturday and Sunday. All of the teams will race Saturday during two different sessions. The morning session begins at 8:30 a.m., and the afternoon will start at 5 p.m.

This is IU’s first experience with a two-day event this year.

“There’s really not that much of a difference," Armstrong said. "We just give it everything we have in every race. We just focus on the upcoming race and prepare for every race the same.”

Because this is one of IU’s biggest events of the season, the team has focused on specific improvements based off their previous regattas. The team has had two weeks since its last race to prepare for the Clemson Invitational. Freshman Antonia Frappell said she has been impressed with the team’s recent improvements.

“The biggest thing we worked on was trying out different things with the rate,” Frappell said. “We’ve been trying to be quick off the start line and establish a rhythm.”

Rate refers to the number of strokes the crew takes per minute. The team has been trying to decrease its rate in order to get further in the water per stroke.

The top seven boats from each session Saturday will be chosen to race Sunday morning. The invitational will conclude Sunday morning with the best boats competing against each other in the first varsity eight boat.

The high level of talent this weekend won’t be new to the Hoosiers. IU raced against No. 4 Ohio State in the Big Ten double dual two weeks ago and isn't afraid of a little competition.

“That race was a huge confidence booster and really helped us identify our weaknesses,” Frappell said. “It showed us that we could hang with one of the top schools in the nation.”

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