May 7, 2012
• Watch Miller's Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. – Women’s lightweight rowing head coach Erik Miller met with the media at Monday's weekly news conference. Archived video of Miller’s appearance can be found above, while a complete transcript can be found below.
Erik Miller: It's been nice to spend as much time as we have on the water so far this spring. We got on a little bit than normal, and I think it set us up to have a pretty good spring so far. Bebe was talking about the different places we can go on the lake to row, and actually with my team's travel schedule we haven't had to go to any of those places. We've only rowed out of the boathouse since the lake opened in March. We've been fortunate that way.
I don't know, it looks like it might change this week, but I think the team has done a good job and has taken advantage of the time that we've had on the water, and it's I think they're moving pretty well. Bucknell is going to be strong at the sprints this weekend, and Radcliffe is going to be really strong.
It's going to take having a good race to be successful. And I think what we've done so far has set us up to race pretty well with sprints, and hopefully it will put us back up on top this weekend.
Question #1: You guys have already won out there in New Jersey, just about a month ago or so. That has to give you a good feeling going back out there.
Miller: Everybody is talking about home course advantage today. I feel it's our home course. If you look at the schedule, we're out there three times every year. And it's someplace we're comfortable with, familiar with, and we sort of treat it like our home course. So going out there it's not something that's scary or intimidating at all. It's something we're pretty comfortable with and it's nice to get out there and be able to take advantage of that.
Question #2: You had a long streak of varsities winning the championship race that was snapped last year. What is it going to take to get back on top this year?
Miller: Last year Princeton had a really fast group. They graduated a bunch of people. I think that we've got a pretty strong crew together this year in our varsity eight and it's been consistent all season long.
We've maybe moved people around inside the boat, but it's been the same group. We've got a couple of freshmen in there this year, and it's the first time we've had two freshmen in the boat since I think 2008.
So I think that it takes a pretty mature freshman to be able to do that, and Sassy Ruenger and Daniella Nunes have stepped up and done a really good job this year of joining in with the varsity team.
And I think that the crew should be pretty confident going into this weekend. And I think that if they do their job, they'll have a good chance of being back on top.
Question #3: What's it like having the bull's eye on your back every time you go to this get together?
Miller: Well, you know, it's something that we sort of look forward to and we set it up. We go out there and race at this venue specifically to get ready to race at this venue. So it's something that the team looks forward to, to going out there.
We know that we've been one of the strongest programs in the country for a while. And so we train to defend that and to do a good job with that. It doesn't always work out. But we've got a strong team that's been pushing themselves all year long and I like our chances when we go out there.
Question #4: You talked about being a pretty good program for a long time now. Looking forward to the summer, there hasn't been a representative yet from the team, I think, that has made the Olympic team. Probably guessing it's a good chance it happens this year. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Miller: I think Kristin Hedstrom has a pretty good chance. She's an '08 grad, and she and her partner, Julie Nichols, who's a Cal grad, rode the double together last summer and qualified for the Olympics. And what they did is they qualified the boat for the U.S.A., and so now they've got to they're in the midst of trying to qualify themselves for that boat for the racing in London this summer.
And they won the Selection Regatta that was in California a few weeks ago, and they raced this weekend, and the selection procedures say you've got to finish top four at a World Cup to qualify and earn your spot on the team.
So they raced and they got sixth place this past weekend in Serbia, and they're going to be racing I think in Lucerne here in a couple of weeks and have another shot of doing that.
They've been the fastest double in this country. It's been the most successful double the U.S. has had in quite some time. I like their chances of making it. They haven't got it wrapped up yet, so a little bit more work to be done.