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Varsity Four sparks Irish in weather-shortened Doc Hosea Invitational

| Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Notre Dame rowing squad competed in some tough conditions this past weekend in the Doc Hosea Invitational. With huge winds affecting the waters, the Irish faced choppy racing conditions that ultimately saw the final Doc Hosea heats cancelled. However, in the time that they did compete, Notre Dame put up some solid results in an event featuring 17 teams. 

The format of the event saw each event race in three heats, with the heat winner and the next three fastest times advancing to the (eventually canceled) Grand Final. The next six times after that qualified for the Petite Final, with the remaining teams racing in a ‘Third Final.’ Despite the actual cancellation of the finals, the Irish qualifed for one Grand Final and four Petite finals. 

The first Varsity Four sparked the Irish with their efforts. They raced in the same heat as Penn who boasted the fastest time in the race. Despite this, the Irish stayed with them most of the way and finished second in the heat in 7:37.39. Behind Penn, Columbia and Navy, the Irish finished fourth fastest overall in the field to qualify for the Grand Final. 

“The varsity four rowed a great race. They got out fast and stuck with them all the way through,” Irish head coach Martin Stone said. “Especially late in the race, when the conditions were rough.”

The Irish also sent out A and B teams into the second Varsity Four, and both squads found their way into the Petite Final. The A squad finished in 8:09.36 to claim the ninth-fastest time. The B team grabbed the final spot in the Petite Final at 8:24.10. Stone noted that the gusting winds constantly changed conditions and made comparing times even between different heats a difficult task. 

The Irish’s other two boats competed in the Varsity Eight and second Varsity Eight. Both qualified for the Petite Final. The first squad struggled out of the gate and spent most of the first half of the race in the back half of their heat. However, right around 750 meters, the Irish started to gain some steam. In the final stretch, Notre Dame rowed past UMass to claim a second-place finish in their heat. They edged out the Minutewomen by just 1.18 seconds. However, the Irish missed out on qualifying for the Grand Final by a similarly razor-thin margin. Competing in the following heat, Navy beat the Irish’s time by 1.94 seconds to nab the sixth and final spot. 

“I liked the resolve. We weren’t very fast off the line, and it wasn’t that we got to almost cruising speed around 750 meters in that we started to come back through the field,” Stone commented. “We just have to figure out how to get off the line better. We’re putting ourselves in a hole early.” 

The second varsity eight competed in a heated finish. After Penn won the race comfortably, four boats in their heat finished within seven seconds of each other. Ultimately, the Irish claimed fourth in 6:55.35. The Irish finished eighth overall, missing the Grand Final by 1.89 seconds. Ultimately, after a week in which the Irish only saw a few positive results at the Cardinal Invite, Stone saw a lot of development from his squad. 

“We learned a lot, going six boats across. It’s a little different then just a dual race. There’s a lot more going on. We continue to learn an awful lot about ourselves,” Stone said after the Irish came up on the short end of a few tight battles. “I think we need to get better at actually racing. We’re a pretty young group and working on fine-tuning that. Making sure we get the right people in the right seats and look at different combinations throughout the program.” 

The Irish now get a week off with no races scheduled for this weekend. Stone noted this allows the Irish to get some recovery and into a better training cycle heading into their next competition. That competition is scheduled for April 9, at the Ohio State Regatta. Five teams will compete, and Stone says the current schedule has the Irish racing Ohio State in the morning, and then Ohio State and Oklahoma in the afternoon.

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About Aidan Thomas

A junior marketing and ACMS major at Notre Dame, I've countered the success I've enjoyed as a New England sports fan with the painful existence of a Notre Dame football fan.

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