Saturday, May 5, 2007

Looking Ahead to Sprints and Beyond

Our dual racing season ended a week ago today with a victory in the Beanpot Challenge Cup, a race among all the D1 squads on the Charles River. This coming weekend brings the Eastern Sprints in Camden, NJ; we are heading into it ranked 5th, behind Yale (beat us by 5.3 seconds), Brown (beat us by 3.6 seconds), Princeton (whom we beat by 5.6 seconds), and Dartmouth (who beat us by 4.7 seconds). Because of the way heats are drawn, we will be facing Brown first thing on Sunday, and then likely again in the afternoon final.

It's exciting to think about a whole year of training boiling down to our performance at this championships, and that doing well will bring the opportunity to continue on to the NCAAs and to contend against the nation's top teams. I think that the Eastern Sprints league is extremely fast this year, with USC on the West Coast and some burgeoning midwest and southern teams, such as Minnesota and Notre Dame, bringing very competitive racing to the table as well. We have really begun to hit our stride as a boat, and although we are still at a place where we are less consistent than we need to be, I have a trust with the other women in my boat that we are committed to pulling the best race we are physically and mentally able to. Outside of individual boat performance, the entire squad has posted fast times and satisfying wins in dual racing, and it is going to be exciting to see how the team performs next weekend. I don't want to think too much about NCAAs--one race at a time--but I think the amount of effort we have put in this year, and our racing abilities as demonstrated this spring, would make our squad a serious competitor there as well.

USRowing
also released the invitations for this summer's U23 and Senior camps this week; it looks like I'll be spending June and July training in Charlottesville, VA at the U23 quad camp. I'm really excited to have my first real experience with intensely coached sculling. Even though I have been able to keep a boat set since 1999 or so, and we won the SW Jr Regionals in the quad back in 2003, I am so much stronger and fitter and knowledgeable about rowing. It has made the sessions I've had with Linda and Michelle Guerette so much more useful, because even though I'm not rowing well, I know how to make the changes they advise me to make, and I have the fitness and focus to keep the changes permanent. The other scullers are all extremely talented--most have at least a US National Championship or Canadian Henley division title to their name--so I am excited to get to row with them too. I think that if I learn at much as I did last summer, it will definitely be time well-spent.

So, all the squads here are heading to sprints with very respectable seedings. We're 5th, as are our lightweight women; our heavyweight and lightweight men are both ranked 1st. It should all make for some great racing by both the Black-and-White and the Crimson.

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