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IU set to battle rowing’s best in search of sixth straight championship appearance


The IU women's rowing team practices at Lake Lemon during the 2016 season. IDS file photo

After a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships last season, the IU rowing team is finally set to get back in the water.

The Hoosiers have been preparing for the upcoming season since school got back in session this past August. They are among the earliest risers on campus, waking up for practice long before the roosters even think of crowing. The Monday-through-Saturday practices may be taxing on the body, but they are proving to be beneficial.

"Despite being a relatively young team, the team is fitter and stronger than we have ever been,” IU Head Coach Steve Peterson said. “We have been doing a tremendous amount of mileage and volume in our training, and it is really paying off.  Doing all of this work is building confidence for our athletes.”

Peterson is in the midst of his 16th year at the helm, and is seeking a sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Rowing Championship. Peterson knows the ultimate goal isn’t making it to the championship, but rather winning the whole thing.

“We have some very solid goals for this year that everyone on the team is focused on," Peterson said. "You can see it in the way they are training and their attitude each day in practice."

This season, IU will face some of the best teams in the country, including nine ranked teams: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Harvard University, Yale University, University of Southern California, University of Virginia and University of Texas.

On top of the ranked teams, every other opponent for Indiana received votes in the poll. It is a challenging schedule up ahead for the Hoosiers, but this team has put the long hours into training to prepare for this gauntlet of rowing powerhouses.

The season will officially get underway March 30 when IU travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete in a Big Ten/Ivy League double-dual. This is where it will face Michigan, Harvard and Yale.

Both the Wolverines and Bulldogs bested the Hoosiers at last year's NCAA Rowing Championship, finishing seventh and eighth respectively. IU will be out for a bit of revenge this time around, as it will more than likely be seeing both teams again at this year’s championship weekend.

IU will continue its road competition on April 13 in Iowa City, Iowa, for a Big Ten double-dual against Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Badgers always seems to give the Hoosiers trouble, besting them the past three seasons. IU has had more success against Minnesota, but not by much. The Golden Gophers last lost to the Hoosiers in a dual in 2016. IU will be seeking its first win in a double-dual since 2017 against Rutgers.

IU will be back in Bloomington on April 20 for the Dale England Cup, an event the Hoosiers consistently fare well in. IU has taken back-to-back Dale England Cups, but will have to get through University Notre Dame and Michigan State this season if they want a third.

The Spartans have the upper hand as they haven’t fallen to the Hoosiers in four years, while the Fighting Irish have lost the event in consecutive seasons. This should make for a prime matchup as the Hoosiers seek to complete the three-peat on Lake Lemon.

The toughest task for IU will be April 27, and it comes in the form of three teams that placed higher than it at last year’s NCAA Rowing Championship: Virginia, USC and Texas, the host school. The Longhorns are the highest ranked opponent for the Hoosiers all season – No. 4 in the CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll – and finished third at last year's championships.

The Longhorn Invite will be a prime opportunity for the Hoosiers to make a statement before making another trip to the NCAA Rowing Championship.

IU rowing has a strenuous schedule ahead of them with a plethora of ranked teams and potential championship invitees.

It won’t be an easy road to a sixth straight championship appearance. Peterson knows this, and has nothing but confidence in his team.

“I think the spring 2019 season will be a very special one for Indiana Rowing," Peterson said.

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