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Rowing: Irish finish regular season on high note

Ernst Cleofe | Monday, April 30, 2012

The Irish finished their regular season schedule with a perfect record at the Big East Invitational in Indianapolis, winning every race during the meet. The perfect day included a clean sweep of the three grand finals.

“I think it was a really good day for us as an entire team,” junior captain Abby Meyers said. “Today, we pulled together and raced as an entire team.”

After earning spots during their preliminary heats, the varsity eight, varsity four and second varsity eight each raced a second time in the grand finals races to earn the wins in the biggest races of the day.

In the first of the grand finals, the varsity eight had the closest of the three races. The Irish boat pulled in with a time of 6:41.0, only 0.6 seconds before second-place Syracuse. The close win set the stage for the rest of the grand final races.

“The race against Syracuse was really intense. We know that all season, one of their biggest goals was to beat us in the Big East,” Meyers said. “They’ve been working really hard and they made it really close. It was tooth and nail to the very end, but then we got the job done.”

The second of the grand finals featured the second varsity eight boats. After winning its preliminary heat by 22 seconds, the second varsity boat did not win the grand finals in such an easy manner. Notre Dame finished 1.1 seconds ahead of Syracuse with a winning time of 6:47.4.

The Irish had their easiest win in the final varsity four grand final, finishing 12.9 seconds ahead of second-place Iowa.

Outside of the grand finals races, the Irish were also perfect in their other competitions, including the second varsity four and third varsity eight.

“It took a lot of work for us to win all of the races,” Meyers said. “Some of the boats have raced three weeks in a row, and we have had a lot of competition.”

The sweep of the grand finals bodes well for the Big East championship on May 13.

“I think the wins are a huge momentum push, especially because we race a lot of these teams again in the Big East championship,” Meyers said. “Historically, at the end of the semester, we gain speed and now we’re ready to go for the Big East.”

The Irish head to Mercer, N.J., to face off against Big East foes again in the Big East championship on May 13.

Contact Ernst Cleofe at ecleofe@nd.edu