For the past few seasons, Ohio State has had the Michigan women’s rowing team’s number. Saturday, that trend continued.
“Ohio State is the defending national champs and is a really good program,” said Michigan coach Mark Rothstein. “They got the better of us.”
Competing at the Big Ten Double Dual in Princeton, N.J., which featured the sixth-ranked Wolverines, Michigan State, No. 3 Ohio State and Rutgers, Michigan rowed against the Buckeyes in the morning before matching up against the Scarlet Knights in the afternoon.
In the morning meet, the highlight for Michigan was the second varsity eight race. The boat narrowly won the race over Ohio State, finishing with a time of 6:49.6.
The rest of the meet, though, was all Buckeyes.
Ohio State’s first varsity eight handily beat Michigan, defeating the Wolverines by a full eight seconds with a winning time of 6:34.8. The Michigan first and second varsity fours also both lost to their respective Buckeye counterparts. While the first varsity four narrowly lost by under two seconds, the second varsity four was not as competitive, losing by almost six seconds.
“I was pleased with our second eight beating Ohio State, and I thought our first eight learned some things in the morning and did better in the afternoon,” Rothstein said. “I thought our first four, even though they came up short, raced well in the morning against Ohio State. It was a good day, good learning experience.”
In the afternoon — with strong winds slowing all four teams — the Wolverines had a much better showing. In the first varsity eight, Michigan trounced Rutgers, finishing with a time of 7.14.5 for a 40.2-second margin of victory. The second varsity eight was even more dominant, jousting the Scarlet Knights by 44.1 seconds with a winning time of 7:27.6.
Both of the Wolverines’ varsity fours were stellar in the afternoon as well, defeating Rutgers by huge margins. The first varsity four won by almost a minute — 8:29.1 to 9:23.6 — while the second varsity four won by just 50 seconds, 8:03.56 to 8:54.3.
While the higher-ranked Buckeyes tripped up Michigan, Rothstein was happy to be able to compete against another good team, especially with both the Big Ten and NCAA Championships quickly approaching.
“We need to evaluate what we did well and areas that we need to shore up,” Rothstein said. “I think the biggest thing is just to practice really hard over the next week. We’ll see some fast teams in Clemson (next weekend), so we’re excited to go down there, and it should be really good racing.”
Though Rothstein is optimistic for the future, he is still careful about getting his hopes up for the end of the season.
“It’s a fast conference,” Rothstein said. “We’ll see how we perform.”