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Rowing: Irish end fall season with scrimmage

Cory Bernard | Sunday, November 13, 2011

After having their scrimmage against Indiana cancelled last weekend, the Irish finally got back on the water Sunday for their final competition of the fall season.

Notre Dame raced in a scrimmage against Big Ten schools Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana on the Griggs Reservoir in Columbus, Ohio.

Because of the informal setting, no official results were published. However, the Buckeyes, who finished last season No. 8 in the country, took first in all five of the varsity eight-person races. Having competed against last season’s national champion in the Head of the Charles Regatta earlier in the fall, the Irish have raced against the nation’s best this season.

Irish coach Martin Stone said Ohio State belongs in that category.

“They will be up there at the end of the season,” Stone said of the Buckeyes. “They’re very fast, a very good group. Also, Indiana’s got some speed, Michigan State’s got some speed and we’ve got some speed.”

Stone said the opportunity to race against some talented squads showed his team areas that need improving. Additionally, he said the format of the scrimmage helped in preparation for the spring season.

“There’s a lot of stuff to work on to continue to get faster,” Stone said. “The scrimmage consisted of five four-minute pieces, which is kind of a different race plan. We did well from a learning experience — it gives us an indication of where we are at and what we need to work on. It also gave our kids a lot of experience side-by-side, which is more typical of what’s to come in the spring.”

Though wind rendered some areas of the water too dangerous, the teams found enough shelter for calm racing. The same could not be said for Notre Dame’s scrimmage against Indiana, scheduled for last weekend in Indianapolis. Because teams have limited opportunities for events in the fall, Stone said the cancellation was disappointing, albeit necessary.

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t get it done, obviously you always look forward to competing against other competition,” he said. “Weather is just something that happens, and so a decision had to be made. That’s rowing, and we know it.”

Despite being robbed of one of its opportunities to race, Notre Dame will enter the offseason with knowledge on how to improve, Stone said. He said each individual must work on specific aspects of her fitness in order to continue improving into the second half of the season.

“Each student-athlete needs something different,” Stone said. “Some need to be more aerobically fit, some need more power and raw strength. Each will have their own plan between now and when we get back to the water. We’ll be conducting some assessments this week to see how much everybody has improved since we began in August. Everyone will get guidance on what each person should do to improve.”


Contact Cory Bernard at cbernard@nd.edu