Irish ready to hit the water this fall
Josh Dulany | Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Notre Dame is gearing up for its fall season, and team members say they are ready to hit the water.
“This fall season is all about getting excited for the year and just feeling the energy we have around the team,” sophomore Hilary Shinnick said. “We have a solid team back from last year, we’ve got a lot of freshman in, and it’s an exciting time.”
The Irish bring back 14 seniors on a team that finished ninth in the NCAA finals last year, an accomplishment which tied a program-best finish at the competition. One of those returning seniors, Erin Boxberger, won two gold medals at the World Under-23 championships in Italy over the summer.
That success, combined with quality results from last year, has the Irish feeling confident about the year ahead, Shinnick said.
“We’ve got a lot to build on,” Shinnick said. “We got second in a couple meets last season, competed really hard all year and came together as a team. Now we get to do it all again, and the fall is especially important for the coming-together part and just building each other up as teammates.”
The team’s main competitive challenge this fall will be the Head of the Charles Regatta that takes place Oct. 18-19 in Boston. At the same meet last year, the Irish finished seventh in the Championship Four race and sixth in the Championship Eight race. The high-quality field included the United States rowing team, the United States Naval Academy and the Cambridge Boat Club. Shinnick said the competition will be a good test for the Irish as they tune up early in the season.
“The Charles is coming up and will be important for us,” Shinnick said. “Again, as we build as a team and try to put lineups together, it will be critical for us to face top-flight teams. This event is a fun time but also a good way to get the season started and start competing.”
Other than the Head of the Charles, practice and conditioning are the main focus of the fall for the Irish, Shinnick said. Last year, Notre Dame competed in meets with the country’s top teams, including the eventual national champion, Ohio State, so the Irish appreciate the need for constant improvement.
“Last year, we had some tough races,” Shinnick said. “We faced top teams and were competitive, but we want to get even better and win even more. The fall practice is crucial to get some outdoor practice in before winter and get stronger individually and as a team.”
The Irish aim to jumpstart their development as they gear up for the Head of the Charles Regatta.