BELLEVILLE — A fisher standing on the left edge of the dock reached around his Budweiser for bait and dropped his line in the water just as the Michigan women’s rowing team came back into view on the horizon.

It was a fitting scene for a lazy morning of races.

Michigan State sent just one boat to compete with the Wolverines in a series of exhibition races Sunday. Michigan performed well at its home boathouse, with the top eight-woman boat winning each of the four-minute races comfortably.

“The biggest thing that stood out is that we had three boats that were competitive,” Rothstein said. “I think at this time of the year, depth is really what we’re trying to develop.”

The first varsity eight boat finished the first race nearly even with the other three Michigan boats and won the subsequent races by more than a boat length. The Spartans did not fare as well, failing to finish better than third in any race.

The exhibition was intended as a litmus test for where the Wolverines stand after the summer. Michigan State did not send its 1V8 lineup, instead opting to reward rowers who performed well in an indoor competition during the previous week’s practice.

Michigan ended last season with a second-place place finish at the Big Ten championships and 10th overall at the NCAA Championships. Last year’s team was heavy with freshmen, counting just four seniors on the roster. The Wolverines are looking to build on last season’s success with the added experience. The team graduated just two rowers from the 2015 1V8 boat.

Rothstein was particularly impressed with the summer gains made by junior Kinsey Vear, sophomore Kendall Brewer and senior captain Adena Coste. Brewer was selected for the United States Under-23 team over the summer and is handling a switch from starboard to port nicely.

Rothstein also noted that he liked what he saw from the freshmen on Sunday. The incoming class includes a number of talented and experienced rowers who will have to figure significantly for the Wolverines over the coming season.

Michigan’s next test will be against three-time defending national champion Ohio State in an exhibition on Oct. 4.

“We train hard, and I think for many of the freshmen, it’s probably training harder than they ever had,” Rothstein said. “I think the whole team is doing a nice job.”

The biggest excitement of the day came from a stray fishing boat that got a little too close for comfort and knocked Michigan State off course in the last race. Even that couldn’t put a damper on the morning, though, as both teams hauled the boats out of the water with smiles — happy to be back to racing.

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