Oct. 30, 2011
• Photo Gallery | Results | UW Men's Recap
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Despite being three hours from Madison, the Wisconsin men’s, women’s and lightweight women’s rowing programs felt right at home on the Iowa River, dominating the field at the Head of the Iowa.
Competing against host-Iowa, Minnesota, Iowa State, Creighton, Drake and Colorado, Wisconsin won all 10 races on the University of Iowa campus. The Badgers competed in the varsity and novice eight, four and varsity pair. Each event featured a men’s and women’s race.
Considering the Badgers left Madison at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, a slow start to the day might have been acceptable, if not expected.
“This is always a tough day for us, leaving early from Madison,” lightweight head coach Erik Miller said. “Coming to this regatta and racing against some of the top Big Ten schools is always going to be a challenge.”
The women began their day in the varsity eight, racing four openweight and two lightweight boats against 11 other crews. The top openweight boat finished on top with a time of 13:47, 24 seconds ahead of Minnesota. The openweights finished in fourth, seventh and eighth while the lightweight eights finished in fifth and ninth. The race was the only event where Wisconsin did not finish with more than one boat with the fastest time.
The novice four race gave an openweight and lightweight boat an opportunity to race for just the second time this season. The Badgers looked to build on their performance at the Head of the Rock, where the openweight four beat the lightweight four by four seconds. This time the results were the same, but the times were different. The UW openweights once again got the best of the lightweights, winning by 35 seconds. The lightweight crew was 42 seconds ahead of third-place Minnesota.
The varsity four looked to improve on their early-morning performance in the eights as the Badgers raced six boats in a 21-boat field. The afternoon start time seemed to help, as the openweights finished first and second, just .7 seconds apart and 10 seconds ahead of Minnesota. The third openweight crew finished in sixth, followed by the lightweights in seventh and 12th and the final openweight boat in 13th.
The novice eight continued with another strong performance, racing five boats against 11 other crews. Wisconsin’s first-year rowers came out on top again with the top lightweight boat winning in 14:31, 11 seconds ahead of the top openweight boat. The host-Hawkeyes came in third, nearly 20 seconds behind the openweights. Wisconsin’s second and third openweight boats finished in fourth and sixth, respectively, while the second lightweight crew finished fifth.
The final race of the day was one of the most competitive of the day on the shores of the Iowa River. Fifteen boats were in the race with 10 representing Wisconsin and five from rival-Iowa. The intensity was easy to see as the rowers and fans cheering on the shores were equally into the race. The added passion couldn’t disrupt the Badgers’ rhythm however as they swept the top five spots. The openweights took the first four, followed by the lightweights in fifth, seventh, ninth, and 11th-13th.
Despite the impressive performances, women’s head coach Bebe Bryans has plenty to improve upon between now and the Badgers’ next race in the spring.
“It was a good strong day, but we can do better,” women’s head coach Bebe Bryans said. “Getting control of consistency will be important between now and the spring race season.”
The openweight and lightweight women’s rowing teams have concluded their fall seasons. Their next race is in the spring.