The No. 19 IU rowing team faced No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 20 Minnesota in Iowa City, Iowa this past Saturday. Head Coach Steve Peterson called the event a success, noting big improvements from the team's last event in Michigan.
“Overall, we’re happy with the results,” Peterson said. “We came away from our race two weeks ago in Michigan with some very clear things we needed to work on, and I feel like boats definitely made some changes and improvements. Through the course of our season, it’s not necessarily the longest, so that’s a real critical thing for crews to be able to do is learn and grow.”
IU faced Minnesota in the morning session and Wisconsin in the afternoon session of the double-dual.
Minnesota started strong, winning the second novice eight by nine seconds over Wisconsin. IU took fourth place in the third varsity four, while Wisconsin won by 17 seconds over Minnesota.
In the first novice eight, IU and Minnesota went head-to-head for the first time. The Hoosiers beat the Golden Gophers by almost 18 seconds to claim their first win of the day.
Minnesota bounced back and took the second varsity four, evening the matchup at one win apiece. The back and forth continued when IU won in the first varsity four by 14 seconds, continuing the streak of big wins.
Both teams finally had a close race in the second varsity eight, a six-second difference between the first place Hoosiers and second place Golden Gophers. The closest finish of the day would come in the final race of the morning session, when IU won its third straight race. The Hoosiers won the first varsity eight by a mere 3.61 seconds.
IU won four of the five races against Minnesota, giving it momentum heading into the afternoon.
“We race against these guys every year, and we know that they’re good crews,” Peterson said. “So racing against someone you know performs well year in and year out, you get a good understanding of where we stand as a crew.”
The Hoosiers kept rolling in the first novice eight, beating Wisconsin by 23.36 seconds. That is the largest time differential of the session for IU. Every other race would be decided by six seconds or less.
Wisconsin came back to win the second varsity four and the first varsity four by 5.41 and 5.39 seconds, respectively. The Badgers also won the second varsity eight by just 1.9 seconds. In the closest race of the day, IU outlasted Wisconsin in the first varsity eight, winning by just .88 seconds. Peterson said while it was a big win for his team, that one second victory could go either way when the two teams meet again next month.
“It’s a confidence boost for the athletes," Peterson said. "But the fact that we beat them by a second does not mean that they can’t turn the tables and get us in May.”
Next up for IU is the Dale England Cup in Bloomington. IU will face off against the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State as it looks for its third straight win in the event. Peterson said in order to capture a third straight Dale England Cup, his team just needs to be true to itself.
“I think we just have to keep doing what we’re doing and making small improvements,” Peterson said. “It’s about keeping our composure and being more aggressive.”
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