No. 9 IU rowing will compete in the 12th annual Dale England Cup this Saturday at Lake Lemon in Bloomington. Lake Lemon is home for the team's practices and competitions. After the event was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hoosiers are preparing to claim the Dale England Cup trophy for the fourth time.
Ruby Leverington, a junior on the Varsity 8 team, says she thinks the team is ready for competition. After a less-demanding schedule last week with a scrimmage against Ohio State, Leverington said she is more energized.
“I have a lot of trust in our coaches that our bodies are physically ready for the weekend.” Leverington said. “This week we have been tweaking little things as the week goes on, so I think we physically prepared for the weekend.”
Katie Nelson, a freshman on the second Varsity 8 team, said she’s excited to race at home for the first time as a Hoosier.
“I am a freshman so I don't have a ton of experience collegiately but having that home course advantage and being able to practice out their six days a week is definitely a comfort thing,” Nelson said.
IU owns 33 waterfront acres on Lake Lemon, home to the Dale England Rowing Center. The team practices there six days a week in preparation for races.
Nelson said gearing up for a race at IU’s own facility has made for a less-stressful week of training.
“We don't have to worry about any of the logistics, getting to know that course, getting to know traffic patterns,” Nelson said. “We just have to go out there and do what we do best which is going fast.”
The competition will not allow fans but will livestream on Facebook. Leverington said the loss of fans doesn't really affect the racing atmosphere.
“It's awesome to be able to hear the cheering for 500 meters or so but I think we are all very self-motivated, I don’t think we rely on that at all.” Leverington said.
The first race will start at 9 a.m. with the Novice 8 teams. IU will be in lane one competing against Michigan St. in lane two. The second Varsity 4 teams will follow with Michigan St. in lane one and IU in lane two. The lead Varsity 4 teams will start at 9:40 a.m. with Minnesota in lane one, Michigan St. in lane two and IU in lane 3. The morning will end with the Varsity and second Varsity 8 teams. The award ceremony begins at 11 a.m. The Varsity 8, second Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 races will award points.
Unlike the other races the Hoosiers have competed in this season, this race will have a winning team that goes home with a trophy. Leverington said the goal is to win but the team is mostly excited just to get the chance to row.
“We all know what it feels like to have our season taken away from us, so I think it's just been really rewarding to be there.” Leverington said.