“Cold” doesn’t even begin to describe the weather Saturday morning at Belleville Lake, but that didn’t stop the Michigan women’s rowing team as it competed in a series of exhibition races.

The Wolverines hosted three teams for the exhibition — Michigan State, Ohio State and Indiana — and despite the event being non-scoring, it was clear that Michigan is living up to its legacy that led to a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships last year.

Michigan claimed first in all 12 races, which were all 1,500 meters long. But some wins came easier than others.

While the varsity four won its first race by a margin of 12.15 seconds, the Hoosiers almost caught up in the varsity four rematch. The Wolverines won by just a 2.58-second margin. In both races, Indiana took second and the Spartans closed in at third.

While Michigan State lagged behind in the varsity four, its varsity-eight team fared slightly better. The Spartans beat out the Hoosiers, who closed in at third for this event. But it still wasn’t enough to trump the Wolverines, who beat the Spartans in the first two races by 4.28 seconds and 3.28 seconds, respectively.

The spectators on the dock made a lot of noise for this close race, but the loudest cheers came from the Michigan boats on the lake, whose voices carried all the way to the finish line.

“I’ve been really impressed with the team this year,” said Michigan coach Mark Rothstein. “It’s been really fun to coach. They’re very unified and hard-working and supportive of one another. This is a really great team.”

After the races were complete, the Buckeyes joined the competition for the top novice races. In the first novice race in which all four teams competed, Michigan again finished first with more than a full boat length to spare.

Michigan State almost knocked off the Wolverines in the second race, trailing by just 2.13 seconds. Indiana and Ohio State lagged behind by a whopping 16 seconds.

Despite the Wolverines’ and the Spartans’ impressive margin, it wasn’t the highlight of the morning. It was the second varsity-four boat that stole the show. The Wolverines dominated by finishing 17.38 seconds ahead of the competition, their largest margin of victory for the day. The biggest competition in this section of races came from the Hoosiers, who took second in both races. They closed the gap by 8.72 seconds in the next race, but it still wasn’t enough to catch Michigan.

Even with this exceptional overall performance from the Wolverines, it was still evident that the season has just begun. The second varsity-four lineup is strong, but some of the novice races could have used a little work.

“I just think we need to get better at higher rates in some of our boats,” Rothstein said. “That stood out today. And we need to continue to make sure that we have the fastest possible lineups.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.