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Women’s Rowing: Irish take three races at regatta

Cory Bernard | Monday, March 28, 2011

Notre Dame and Indiana split six races Sunday in Indianapolis, denying Purdue and Eastern Michigan any victories. The Irish won the first and second varsity four races, and took the third varsity eight, while the Hoosiers were victorious in the first and second varsity eight races, as well as the novice eight.

Irish coach Martin Stone said the eight boats were never in rhythm, leading to the one-second loss to the Hoosiers by the first varsity boat and six-second loss by the second varsity boat.

“I think we just didn’t race well in the middle part of the race,” he said. “We had the lead at one point, but they pushed through us. We just never established a good rhythm.”

Purdue and Eastern Michigan never seriously tested Notre Dame and Indiana in the main races. Stone said he expected the Hoosiers to present the biggest challenge.

“Indiana is very good — I give credit to them,” he said. “Coming in, we expected [the Hoosiers] were going to be our biggest challenge, and they raced very well. They did all the things we needed to do.”

Stone said he let his team know they need to improve, but admitted some positives on a day when Notre Dame won only one of the varsity eight races. The eight-man boats are considered the most prestigious piece in NCAA rowing.

“I told them I was disappointed, that we need to row faster and that we’ll continue to train for our next race,” Stone said. “Some things we need to do better, but there were also some bright spots.”

Among the bright spots was Notre Dame’s varsity four, which crossed the line at 7:56.0, 14 seconds faster than second-place Indiana. Having picked the same lineups for three weeks now, Stone said he now has the time to consider moving people.

“Selection takes time, and kids need to recover and rest,” he said of the process of placing oarsmen. “Up to this point we haven’t had the time to assess everyone. We also have kids coming back from injury, so there could be some changes.”

Stone expressed confidence in his team’s ability to recognize and correct mistakes.

“We’re a good team and we have a good group of kids,” he said. “They’re smart, and they realize that we need to get better. We’ll figure it out.”