Indiana rowing began its season over the weekend at the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational at the Melton Lake Rowing Venue in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The University of Louisville served as the home school for the event and was one of 11 teams that competed in the two-day regatta.
Five of the teams entered the invitational ranked nationally, and four also received votes in the national poll, including Indiana.
"I was happy with the way the whole team performed this weekend," head coach Steve Peterson said. "While we know we still need to get faster, the results this weekend also showed a lot of promise.”
In the first of the three sessions — two on Saturday and one on Sunday — Indiana performed well and placed second in five of the six races. All four of Indiana’s varsity teams came in second behind No. 14 Duke University, with three of those margins coming in under seven seconds.
The second six-race session on Saturday saw the Hoosiers take their only two wins of the weekend, as well as a second-place finish and two third-place finishes. The wins came in the First Varsity Eight and Second Varsity Eight races, and the First Varsity Eight race was decided by just 1.1 seconds.
Indiana changed parts of its lineups throughout the weekend, which saw varied success as the team tried to determine its optimal teams. In the first session, junior Rachel Galet served as coxswain in the First Varsity Eight and sophomore Katherine Nelson was the coxswain in the Second Varsity Eight. In the second session of the day, the athletes switched boats and both won their races.
“These were also the first races of the spring for us after only being in the water for about 10 days, so we are still working on lineups and race plans,” Peterson said.
The third session of the regatta came on Sunday morning and Indiana secured second-place finishes in four of the races and third-place finishes in the other two races.
Across the weekend, the Hoosiers competed in 18 races and finished first or second in 12 of them. The Hoosiers’ best boat in the regatta was its Second Varsity Eight, which recorded two second-place finishes and a win.
The only other Big Ten Conference team at the invitational was No. 17 Wisconsin. In the four varsity races that featured both Indiana and Wisconsin, neither team secured any first-place finishes. However, Indiana beat Wisconsin in all four races.
Peterson said the team trained hard throughout the week leading up to the race — a week that was spring break for IU students. The conditioning meant the athletes entered the weekend less rested than Peterson wanted, but they still performed well, he said.
“It is always important to remember that the season is a process,” Peterson said. “In each race we are trying to learn and get faster with the goal of going as fast as we can in May. This was just the first step in that process, and I think it was a very good first step for this team.”
For its next competition, Indiana travels north to face No. 4 Michigan on Saturday. The races will take place on Belleville Lake in Belleville, Michigan.