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Rowing: Irish win 10 at opening invitational

Joe Wirth | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Irish showed no signs of rust in their first spring competition, as they came home with 10 wins from the Oak Ridge Invitational at Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The team recorded seven wins Saturday and registered three more in Sunday’s races. With the likes of Louisville, Tennessee and Virginia competing, the Irish came out on top against some of the strongest programs in the country.

“The competition was definitely intense this weekend,” junior Abby Meyers said. “Because this was the first round of racing of the season, we didn’t have any idea how fast the other teams were going to be. Especially towards the end of the weekend in our races against Tennessee, our competition was faster, but in most cases we were able to ultimately come out on top and really show our speed and our mental toughness.”

Meyers was on the first victorious varsity eight boat on Saturday morning, which defeated Louisville and Jacksonville handily. She was then on Notre Dame’s last boat to win on Sunday afternoon with a six-second victory over Tennessee.

The first competition of the year always brings many unknown factors. Meyers said, however, there were mostly positive surprises in the opening races and she was impressed to see some of the improvements in the team since the fall season.

“Overall, I think the team had a great start to the season,” Meyers said. “We raced well against some tough competition and individual boats gained a lot of valuable experience racing together. I was very pleased with how well the rowers in the varsity eight and I worked together. I think we surprised ourselves a little with just how strong we can be both mentally and physically when we are down off the start of a race.

“It’s a great feeling to know all the hard work that the whole team put into training indoors during the winter is producing positive results so early in the season. We still have a lot of speed to tap into, and that will be the team’s focus as we move forward and prepare to face even tougher opponents.”

Meyers said the success the team had this weekend gives Notre Dame an opportunity to ride some momentum into the upcoming races and beyond.

“As a team, we still have a lot of potential to tap into,” Meyers said. “We were successful this past weekend, but there is always room to improve. Each boat will use the experience they gained racing together, whether or not that experience involved winning their individual race, to continue to improve and prepare for another intense round of races against Ohio State, Louisville, Indiana, and Purdue this weekend.”

Meyer said she hoped Notre Dame’s success would just be the start to a strong season.

“Every race is an opportunity to show just how fierce, aggressive and fast we are as individual boats and as a collective team,” she said. “We need to take advantage of every single opportunity we have to show the NCAA selection committee that we deserve a bid to this year’s national championship regatta. I think our team has a lot of talent and strength, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together this season.”

The Irish will travel to Columbus, Ohio on Saturday to face Ohio State and then to Indianapolis, Ind., on Sunday to compete in a four-team regatta against Purdue, Indiana and Louisville.

 

Contact Joe Wirth at jwirth@nd.edu