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Women’s Rowing: Coach Stone determined to continue improving squad

Sam Gans | Friday, March 25, 2011

After a successful trip to Oak Ridge, Tenn., during spring break, Notre Dame returns to action in its home state against instate rivals Indiana and Purdue. The Irish travel to Indianapolis Sunday to compete against both schools.

Notre Dame won eight pieces in a tune-up race against Alabama and Minnesota March 13. They followed that by winning four out of five races in a meet against Buffalo March 19.

Coach Martin Stone was pleased with the trip’s results.

“I think [spring break] went well,” Stone said. “We accomplished a lot. We got a lot of rowing in. My thoughts are that it went well and it prepared us for the coming weeks. Everything kind of builds on itself throughout the year, so training indoors prepared us in a greater capacity to row for spring break and spring break allowed us to take the next step this week and to row a little bit higher on the ranks.”

Stone said the theme for the squad is to continue improving.

“We want to race better than we did last weekend,” he said. “There were some areas in all our crews that we need to improve. We want to make sure that we make improvements, do the things that we did well last week again, and the things we didn’t do so well be better at this week.”

Though getting better is of high importance for Sunday, that alone will not be satisfactory.

“Ultimately, we’d like to win,” he said. “If we do what we want to do and we do it well, we’d hope to win.”

While there are a number of key individual rowers that the Irish will rely on this weekend, including senior tri-captains Emily Crosby, Stephanie Gretsch and Carol Ann Michel, a good performance will depend on the whole team producing, both now and in the future.

“For the NCAA [championship], we need 20 rowers and 3 coxswains,” Stone said. “So everybody’s playing a critical role on our team and for the Big East, we need almost double that. Take any one person out of any of the boats [and] the boats might not go as fast.”

But, as with any team, a strong senior class has provided a foundation for strong performance.

“I would say the seniors as a whole, [by showing] good leadership, being good role models on the team, working hard, focusing on details and not being distracted, are doing an excellent job and I think they’re a key to how we’ve trained this year and how we’ve performed so far.”

The Irish will compete against Indiana and Purdue in Indianapolis Sunday, with races beginning at 10 a.m.