The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Women’s rowing returns to normalcy, hopes for success at ACC Championships

| Friday, May 13, 2022

In a year that has been largely a return to normalcy for Notre Dame rowing, the team has found some success but has also been inconsistent throughout the spring rowing season. 

“We lost our racing season in 2020, and then last year was just very odd,” head coach Martin Stone said of the last two years of rowing marred by the pandemic. 

Stone also highlighted it was more difficult to bounce back to a full slate of competition this year. 

“It’s been more difficult than I would have thought, just because there’s no institutional knowledge of what it’s like,” he said. 

The senior class, especially, has had a strange four years, after a typical freshman year before the pandemic canceled their sophomore year and side-by-side rowing was suspended last year.  

“They’re wonderful people,” Stone said. “They’ve had a lot of challenges, more so than others.”

It is a fairly small class, but Stone said they had a great impact on the program. 

“[They’re] women of really high character and sacrificed a tremendous amount to be part of this team,” he said. 

The team opened the season at the Cardinal Invite in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where they faced stiff competition from host Louisville, Alabama and Duke, among others. The second varsity four boat had the best performance for the Irish, winning both its races in an impressive showing on Saturday. However, aside from that boat, Notre Dame finished most of their races in third or fourth place throughout the weekend. 

Stone noted the high level of competition the Irish face every weekend. “It’s certainly a challenge, but then there’s no surprises out there,” he said. “When we get to the ACCs, we’ll have seen the speed that you need to win.”

The Irish next competed at the Doc Hosea Invitational and the OSU regatta. The first was suspended early due to weather, but the varsity eight and varsity four boats both finished in second place. At the OSU regatta, Notre Dame once again struggled against high-level competition, especially a dominant Ohio State team. 

The following weekend was the Big 10 regatta in Sarasota, Florida, where Notre Dame found a bit more success. The Irish struggled at first but had an impressive showing on the second day of the regatta. 

“We’ve trained well,” Stone said of the team’s performance. “I think we started to get some racing getting better, especially the Big 10 Invite,” Stone said. He highlighted the team’s positive attitude and hard work as reasons for the shift in momentum. 

The last regular-season race for Notre Dame was the Dale England cup in Unionville, Indiana, where the Irish raced in five races. The team now prepares for the all-important ACC Championships this weekend in Clemson, South Carolina.

“Our performance goal is to win the ACC, and I think right now that’s a little bit of a stretch, but you never know,” Stone said, adding that the team needs to improve slightly in order to compete against the field that will feature the best of the best. 

“We’re rowing at the race tactically really well. I think it’s just finding a little bit more speed,” Stone said, noting the team needed to find 1-2% additional speed before the ACC Championships. 

He said the team needed to focus on “attention to detail in the boats” and finding the right combination of rowers in each boat in order to find that additional speed. 

It has been a challenging regular season for Notre Dame, but there still remains much to be decided as the team prepares for postseason play.

Tags: , ,

About Liam Coolican

Contact Liam