One year after placing eighth at the event, IU’s rowing team placed fourth out of 21 teams at the Clemson Invitational on April 14.
The Hoosiers were able to fight through a tough schedule, and they fell three points short of a top-three podium finish in South Carolina.
One week after falling hard to Michigan and Michigan State, the team found its rhythm and saw their times improve throughout the weekend.
“I thought this was a great performance by our whole team," IU Coach Steve Peterson said. “All of our crews stepped up this weekend. We have not been performing as consistently as we know we can, so the results this weekend are more indicative of what our athletes are capable of.”
The field of 21 consisted of teams from eight different conferences. Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota joined the Hoosiers from the Big Ten. The Buckeyes and Badgers placed first and third, respectively, while the Golden Gophers finished tenth.
Outside of the Big Ten, there were five other ranked teams at the event, such as USC, Virginia and Washington State. Since the event started in 2013, multiple Clemson Invite crews have gone on to become NCAA Championship participants later in the year.
Peterson said the Hoosiers’ best boat of the weekend was the first varsity four, a boat that lost to ninth-ranked Virginia by two seconds Saturday morning. The 1V4 came back and made a statement by placing second in the grand final; this time was two seconds ahead of the Cavaliers.
“I think it was a great race for us,” junior Connie Brahm said. “After the morning race we knew what had to happen. We just had a really positive outlook going into the final, and it meant the world that we were able to do so well.”
The 1V8 had an up-and-down weekend in terms of time, ultimately placing fifth in its nail biting final that saw all seven teams cross the finish line in an 11-second stretch. There were multiple ranked teams in the water each team they rowed.
The 2V4 stayed consistent throughout the weekend before placing fourth in their final. The only crews that finished above them this weekend were Duke, Ohio State and Virginia.
The 2V8, a boat that struggled last weekend, showed promise during the first two sessions, placing second behind Wisconsin on Friday and second behind Virginia on Saturday. When it came to the grand final, they placed fifth despite having their fastest time of the weekend.
“I think it was a major confidence boost for us,” sophomore Lauren Woodgate said. “We were pretty happy with the outcome. There were a lot of challenging teams and it was great to race against them.”
The team has a rare week off before it wraps up the season with the lone home event of the year, the Dale England Cup. Joining the Hoosiers at Lake Lemon on April 28 will be Duke, Notre Dame and Penn.
While their calendar only consists of practice for the next week and a half, the Hoosiers know that now is not the time to slack as this is their last chance to make any final touches before the postseason.
“It’s not much of a break for us because we still have a lot of work to do,” Woodgate said. “We’re really going to buckle down and just iron out any things we need to fix. We’re really excited to host the Dale England Cup.”
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