By Bo Bradarich, Daily Sports Writer
Published September 15, 2013
The Michigan women’s rowing team hosted its fall season exhibition opener Sunday morning against Notre Dame and Michigan State. The Wolverines were in control from the very beginning, finishing first in every race of the day.
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Races were broken up into two flights. The first featured boats ‘A’ and ‘B‘ from each school, while the second consisted of boats ‘C’ and ‘D.’ Each flight rowed five four-minute pieces at a stroke rating of 26 strokes per minute — a tad shorter and slower than they will be rowing come spring time. The focus of the race wasn’t necessarily on the speed itself, but on what produces that speed — structured technique and power application.
After its second-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Championships and a less-than-ideal showing at the NCAA Championships last season, Michigan head coach Mark Rothstein has implemented a few critical changes to the technique he’s teaching this year. Rothstein’s formulation and modification to the stroke art is one of many concerted efforts made to move closer to first-place finishes.
“(We have a) difference focus on what we want to do on the drive and what we want to accomplish on each stroke,” junior coxswain Hannah Sherman said. “The goal is to win every stroke of every piece.”
In the first flight, Michigan successfully put both its ‘A’ and ‘B’ boats ahead of Michigan State and Notre Dame’s ‘A’ boats in three out of the five pieces. When Michigan did not take the top-two spots, its ‘B’ boat came in third in the first piece behind Michigan State’s ‘A’ boat and fourth in the third piece behind the ‘A’ boats of both the Spartans and Fighting Irish.
The second flight saw similar success from the Wolverines. Michigan was able to catapult its ‘C’ and ‘D’ boats to a first- and second-place finish in four out of five races, even though the only other boat on the water at that time was Notre Dame's. The only race the Wolverines did not achieve this was in the final piece of the day. Michigan ‘D’ took first place in the fifth piece ahead of Notre Dame after Michigan ‘C’ suffered a broken seat and had to limp across the finish line with only seven rowers in the boat.
“Michigan State and Notre Dame have historically fast programs so they’re a good marker for how fast we are right now and how fast we need to get,” Sherman said.