May 26, 2014
PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 10th-ranked Wisconsin men's rowing team, including its seniors, took its final row of the season on Lake Mendota last Friday, but preparations continued Monday for the 2014 Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships, which run Friday-Sunday on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey.
The Badgers put their varsity eight, second varsity eight and freshman eight boats up against the Princeton lightweight varsity eight in a pair of 1250-meter scrimmages on Lake Carnegie. UW will race 2000 meters at this week's national championships.
"As is typical of our boats - the first freshman, the varsity and the second varsity - we were just missing the mark a little bit," head coach Chris Clark said. "In the first piece, our varsity took off and had three quarters of a length at about 250 meters and then moved out to about a length and then just sat. They weren't aggressive enough or relaxed enough to continue the movement out. Our freshmen really did well on that. They stayed right with the rest of the crews."
The boats lined up again for a second 1250-meter piece and UW's varsity eight used a late push to put some distance between itself and the rest of the field.
"Princeton came out on fire," Clark explained. "We, on the other hand, were rowing a lot more conservatively. Much lower 34 strokes per minute, as opposed to the 36 or 37 which is our target. Then we exploded at about 800 or 900 meters and took off."
Next for the Badgers? UW will move its base on Wednesday to Mercer Lake and the national championships race course where the 112th IRAs will take place beginning Friday.
"You don't want to go into your national championship any less prepared than you can possibly be and this really, really helps," Clark added. "Conditioning-wise, our guys are in absolute peak, prime condition right now. Those pieces barely even affected them. They probably felt they could have done a lot more.
"As it is, these kind of late season things are very useful for groups like ours who are young and still learning a lot and are inconsistent in their ability to do exactly what is required, therefore you need these competitive situations."
With the championships starting Friday, Wisconsin will look to improve on its 10th-place varsity eight finish from the 2013 event, while the second varsity eight and freshman eights attempt to better their ninth and seventh-place results from last year's IRA, respectively.