May 16, 2014
Game Notes | Clark News Conference | Seeding Polls
Varsity Magazine: Familiar Waters (feature story) | Live Stream
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin men’s rowing team, led by one of the Badgers’ most entertaining head coaches in Chris Clark, is in a down cycle. Clark knows it, but also knows that things will change soon, he’s just not quite sure when.
He’s just waiting for it to all come together. That next chance comes Sunday at the 2014 Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Championships, also known as the Eastern Sprints. UW’s conference championships, and the qualifier for the national championships, takes place on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“This group could easily be in a grand final with 18 teams and six go to the grand finals, seven to 12 is petite, and then the third level final after that,” Clark said. “But they’re going to have to get over the idea of ‘Let’s see how many ways we can screw it up.’
“We’ve done that a lot already. So hopefully they have a quiver of pulling out arrows of messing up. Hopefully they realize they’re out of arrows. ‘What the heck. Let’s just go ahead and do well.’”
Clark knows. He’s coached his team to a national title and a couple of Eastern Sprints titles during his UW tenure, but he’s also gone through a down time in the past. After winning just one of its last 10 dual races, he is still encouraged about what is to come.
“That’s what’s frustrating about this group is, body-wise, they look great. It’s like, wow, these guys could do it. The last time we got a bit of a dip we didn’t have athletes like this. They just started out probably losing too much their first year.
“Once you’ve learned to do that, then it’s just you’re running a laundry list in your head of the ways we’re going to lose. You see it with any team. ‘How are we going to lose? Is it going to be a turnover? Is it going to be an interception? Are they just going to outscore us?’
“It’s the same thing in rowing. Like, ‘Oh, boy, we’re going to miss this row. Is the water going to be bad?’ Eventually you switch to: Let me count the ways that I can win.”
With two more weeks on the water since the Badgers were tested, Clark hopes it is time to start the count.