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ND WOMEN’S ROWING: Rowers getting anxious to kick off competition

Tom Dorwart | Friday, September 16, 2005

They’ve practiced together, studied together and even eaten dinner together. Finally, the two-time defending Big East champion women’s rowing team gets to race together.

“From Sunday team dinner at South Dining Hall to study breaks at the student center, the team has a great sense of unity,” senior rower Pamela Jefson said, according to und.eom. “Not only are we improving on the water, but there is great team chemistry off the water, too.”

Sunday the Irish will face rivals Michigan and Michigan State in Ann Arbor, Mich. After weeks of practice, they’re ready to face some real competition.

“Looking at the bigger picture, we want to set a standard of excellence this fall that we will continue into the spring,” said Jefson, who was a second varsity eight boat rower from last season. “We are well on our way to achieving this goal.”

For Jefson and her teammates, this Sunday’s fall season regatta is anything but an off-season, informal pushover.

It’s a chance to get better.

“Everyone’s already really dedicated even though our core season isn’t until the spring,” sophomore rower Erica Castro-Larsen said.

Their focus is on conditioning and preparing for the spring.

“Lately, we’ve been working on technique and just building up our strength,” Castro-Larsen said. “You don’t really want to hit your peak now [when the main season is in the spring]. Practice has been going well. This fall, we want to get stronger.”

Castro-Larsen recognizes the best way to improve the team’s rowing is to compete.

“Just be on the water,” she said.

Sunday’s regatta will likely include three 3,000-meter races, which should last about 12 minutes each, with three equal boats. Rather than separating the rowers into the A, B and C boats as usual, Notre Dame will spread out the rowing, allowing the experienced rowers and some of the newcomers to mix.

The Irish will race in three other regattas later this fall, with their ultimate goal in the back of their minds – the spring NCAAs. They’ll push themselves that much harder.

“There is an understood feeling that the team has the potential for great things this year,” Jefson said. “I know I’m excited. The team is off to a great start this fall.”

Castro-Larsen agreed with her senior teammate.

“I’m really excited for the season,” she said. “We’ve jumped into it really strong.”

Simply put, the Irish have already jumped. The rest of the fall, they’ll stay on the water working for another spring.