May 6, 2013
Watch Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's rowing head coach Bebe Bryans spoke about Wisconsin's home regatta it just hosted and the upcoming Big Ten championships, among other things.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Bryans's remarks can be found below.
Bryans: Yesterday was a pretty remarkable day for Badgers and for Wisconsin athletics just because we had such a fantastic day out at the Porter Boathouse. We had Minnesota and Michigan State there, and just to be able to host out of our magnificent boathouse and have it be a spectacularly perfect day was an anomaly. We were really happy to be able to pull that off.
I take absolutely no credit for the weather whatsoever because, if I could take credit for that, then I would have to take the blame for the rest of this year. So I'll leave it at the Lake Mendota spirits, and I appreciate it.
To say this year has been a challenge is a very true statement. I've got a great group of athletes. They're pretty young, but we have great senior leadership on top of that, and that is what's keeping us in this hunt. We've been on the water for about two weeks now, and yet we are two weeks away from the Big Ten Championship.
So to be really optimistic at this point, which I am, I think is a testament to those women and the rest of the coaching staff in the job that they're doing getting us ready for the championships and beyond.
Question 1: So you don't know how good you can be, but you have you're optimistic how good you could be?
Bryans: I know how good we can be, and we've seen we've seen glimpses of it. The Varsity Eight yesterday was the sole boat that did not win its race. We lost to the Gophers by about a half a boat length, and they just didn't race very well.
It's sort of like dancing. You can have two superb dancers, but if they don't flow together, they don't work together to make that magic, it just doesn't work very well. It could be good, but it's not going to be great, and that was our Varsity Eight yesterday.
So they were all working really well individually, and it just never came together. And until that happens, you're going to be good but not great. This boat can be a lot faster than it is. We've got two weeks now, which we haven't had two weeks of preparation yet. So we're going to be looking at some options, looking at people in different seats, maybe looking at different people in the boat.
We haven't really had the opportunity to do that yet, so we're looking forward to it. But I know that they can be faster, absolutely.
Question 2: How much farther behind are you than a normal spring? How would you measure it?
Bryans: Well, it's funny because speed wise, just looking at how fast we're going, we're really not that far behind, but looking at what the potential is and where everybody else is, we're probably three weeks behind, and just in the hardest part of all of this is selection, is getting the right people in the right seats in the right boats, and we haven't had enough time for the kids to be confident in that.
We're pretty confident, but unless they are, it doesn't matter. So the next two weeks, we'll have the opportunity to do that.
We knew when we scheduled this year, regardless of the conditions, we scheduled a really tough spring of racing. And it turned out that it was exactly what we needed because we couldn't row here anyway. We had to travel to different states to be able to practice.
And we traveled to Iowa to race and basically didn't get to do that either because we got blown off, but we did get to practice that day. So we went to Iowa to practice. So it worked for us, and now we just have to every day has to be worth a week, and if we can do that, we'll be ahead of the game.
Question 3: Basically, all the other sports have alternative facilities for training during bad weather. There are indoor facilities for baseball and track. You can do everything else inside. What is the alternative for rowing? Is it just getting in line at the rowing machine in the weight room and do that? Did you guys I mean, what was the alternative?
Bryans: I'm sure every coach will say nothing is like doing what they do. So the indoor softball and baseball is a lot different than actually doing it in the real world. That's the same for us. There is absolutely nothing even close to being on the water in a boat.
We have the best indoor training facilities in the country. So we make good use of that, and we do line rowers up on things called sliders, so the ergs move together, and we have a big enough facility that we can sometimes get eight people in a row so we can put those boats together, and we do that.
Once the ice breaks, we have different options around Lake Mendota and on Wingra, where we can take our boats and row. In fact, this morning before I came here, I was moving oars from Lake Wingra back to the Boathouse because it looks like we're going to be able to row out of there this week. We transport our boats around the lake. We are inventive with what we can do to get them on the water.
And the kids, they are amazingly easy going with that. We've got good communication with them, and we say we're going to be here tomorrow. Be there. Or we're going to be there. We're going to be there. Wherever we need to go, they'll do anything to not have to erg anymore. Anywhere we have to. We'll go to Iowa to row. They'd rather do that than erg anymore.
Fortunately for us, we have great indoor training facilities. Unfortunately for us, we've had to make use of them a lot more than normal this year.
Question 4: I was going to ask you how your athletes handle those challenges, and do you almost feel deprived of a season in some ways this year?
Bryans: I this is such a great team, and every year is every year you've got good things, and you've got things to work on. This year, the attitudes of the athletes and the willingness and the desire, I think it's the best group for that that we've ever had. So I feel just that much more uh.
Whatever, the only thing I can't give them right now is the only thing they really need, which is water time. Hopefully, we'll be able to get it. We'll do anything to get it. We move boats all over the place to make that happen.
So the easy answer to that question is yes, I feel really bad about what has been handed to us this year that we can't control. On the other hand, we're not out of this yet. Because of their attitude and because of their willingness to do whatever it takes, it can make them stronger, and that's our as coaches, that's our responsibility to help them do that. We're not out of this by any means yet