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Rowing team can rebound at Clemson Invitational with history on its side


The IU women's rowing team practices at Lake Lemon during the 2016 season. The Hoosiers finished 13th at the NCAA Championships on Friday and Saturday. IDS file photo

The Hoosiers are no stranger to success in South Carolina.

For the sixth straight year, IU’s rowing team will race at the Clemson Invitational as its second-to-last regular season regatta. The Hoosiers have been to the event each year of its existence, and they always make their presence known during the final Sunday races.

Since the inaugural invite in 2013, IU has made it to more than 20 grand finals at the Clemson Invitational. With every boat contributing in past years, the Hoosiers aim to maintain their reputation at the event.

“It takes a great team to go fast once, but a special team to go fast consistently,” senior Emily Wasz said. “I think you’re going to see some pretty special crews out of Indiana this weekend.”

Wasz is one of six seniors on the team and has rowed with the first varsity eight this year. The 1V8 has been known to make a splash for IU at the Clemson Invitational, making it to grand final in all five years the Hoosiers have participated. 

While the 1V8 placed first in 2015, another IU boat has collected more hardware in South Carolina. The 2V8 won their grand finals in 2014 and 2015, and they have appeared in the grand final every year since. 

As these two boats had season-low finishes last weekend in Michigan, they’ll look to make adjustments at practice this week if they want to keep up with their decorated event history.

“We’ve been working on a lot of technical changes since then,” junior Maddie Pierce said. “The 2V8 struggled a bit in New Jersey and we’re a really young boat, so every single practice is improvement for us. We’re looking to make these little changes that are going to add to a lot of boat speed.” 

Halfway through the 2018 regular season, IU’s 2V8 has already used four freshmen and four sophomores after shuffling around the lineup once. 

As for the Hoosiers’ competition, the Clemson Invitational is typically a loaded affair. This year, the Tigers will host 20 other crews including a few juggernaut rowing programs, such as USC and Virginia.

Though the Saturday heat groupings have been released, the Hoosiers know that they can face anyone at the invitational should they make it to any grand finals. A particular school IU has in mind is Ohio State, who the Hoosiers scrimmaged against in March. 

“The scrimmage was good, we were happy with that,” IU Coach Steve Peterson said. “They’re one of the better crews out there and if we can hang with them, we’ll be great.”

Ohio State won three consecutive national championships from 2013 to 2015 before finishing as runner-up in 2016. Since then, the Buckeyes have remained a top-10 team in the country. 

If the Hoosiers continue their dominance at the Clemson Invitational, they may find themselves moving up in the national rankings before their final regular season regatta: the Dale England Cup, IU’s sole home event of the year. 

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