In one of its first big tests of the season, the Michigan women’s rowing team showed that it will once again be competitive with other top programs across the country. 

In the Pac-12 Challenge this weekend the third-ranked, Wolverines rowed alongside No. 1 California, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Washington, No. 7 Virginia and No. 10 Stanford. Overall, Michigan placed second behind the University of California in Redwood City, Calif.

“All six are perennial contenders,” said Michigan coach Mark Rothstein. “It was good to see that speed this early in the season.”

The Wolverines fared well on Saturday, as the 1v8 and 2v8 boats defeated Stanford. The 1v4 boat, on the other hand, lost its race against Stanford by 1.2 seconds.

Saturday afternoon was a different story, as it saw Michigan lose all three of its races against Washington. The closest of which was the 1v8 boat’s 2.62-second loss.

“We need to continue to build our aerobic pace and fitness,” Rothstein said. “Holding the strokes better, especially when things aren’t going well will be important as we move forward.”

However, the Wolverines’ 2v8 boat had a big Sunday morning, notching an upset over No. 1 California. They defeated the Golden Bears’ 2v8 boat with a time of 6:22.81, while California finished the race with a time of 6:26.62.

“They are a very talented boat,” Rothstein said of his 2v8 boat. “They raced their best race so far.”

While neither of the other two boats were able to defeat the Bears’ boats, Coach Rothstein was very excited about what he saw on the water this weekend.

“We showed good speed this weekend,” Rothstein said. “But we didn’t do that well this morning. There is still speed to be gained, and things to work on.”

Michigan had a good weekend in California, and will next turn its sights to the Big Ten Dual Meet in East Lansing next weekend.

“Every meet is a chance to progress,” Rothstein said. “All competitions are an opportunity to improve.”

The season is just underway for the Wolverines, but based on the show they put on this weekend, they could be on their way to a good one.

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