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Irish scrimmage against Michigan, Michigan State

| Monday, September 15, 2014

The Notre Dame rowing team traveled north across the state line to Michigan on Sunday to participate in an annual scrimmage with Michigan and Michigan State. While not an official in-season meet, the Irish were happy to get on the water and race someone other than themselves and a clock.

“We practice so much and have so few races that any opportunity we get to race against someone else is a good thing,” Irish senior Vicky Ryan said. “[Sunday] was pretty good, our coach was pretty happy with it, we were pretty happy with how everyone rode.

“We looked pretty strong. Everyone is dropping time on their indoor pieces.”

The scrimmage tested how far the teams could row in a certain amount of time at the same rate of oar strokes per minute, and although there were not official winners and losers, Ryan said Notre Dame was faster than both its opponents at the same amount of strokes per minute.

As the team continues to prepare for its regular season in practice, stroke speed will start to be emphasized as well as power, sophomore rower Bridget Adam said.

“The scrimmage and our recent training focused on our power per stroke,” Adam said. “For our upcoming races we are going to work on pushing together at higher rates.”

While the Irish were out on the water Sunday, one of their biggest events of the fall is their fourth-annual Erg-a-thon, a fundraising effort the team puts on to help support pancreatic cancer research at Notre Dame.

“We give the money to Harper Cancer Research Institute,” Ryan, who is the co-chair of the event said. “We donate the money to undergraduate research over there, so it’s going directly back to the school, which is kind of cool and unlike anything else that other teams are doing on campus.”

An “erg” is the rowing team’s name for the stationary rowing machines that they train on when not in the water. The event will have a half dozen or so ‘ergs’ out between LaFun and Stonehenge where the rowing team will race any challengers.

“We aren’t 100 percent sure how we are going to do the style this year,” Ryan said. “It’s usually been 250 meter races, which take a minute, but we are thinking about changing the format of the actual race to five minutes where you split up the time between yourself and some friends.”

The Erg-a-thon will take place on Oct. 3. Participants will be given a wristband to support pancreatic cancer research and shirts will be available for purchase. The team is putting the finishing touches on a website devoted to helping raise donations, which last year totaled more than $9,500. The website will be up and running for the week or so before the event, Ryan said.

The entire rowing team helps put on the event, whether it be helping to advertise, run or set-up the stations.

“[This year] we are all looking forward to get to help out with it,” sophomore Kate Trankina said. “It’s been something the team has done for a couple years now, so it helps the team, helps the charity. Contribute to something other than school work.”

The Erg-a-thon will take place on Oct. 3, followed by Notre Dame’s first official race of the season at the Head of Charles meet in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Oct. 19.

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About Zach Klonsinski

A History graduate, Zach spent all four of his years on campus as a resident of Knott Hall. Hailing from Belgrade, Montana, he covered a wide variety of sports in his time at Notre Dame, including Football, Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Fencing, Rowing, Women's Lacrosse and other events around campus. You can contact him in his post-graduation travels and job search at [email protected]

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