Easy sailing for women’s rowing

By Matthew Kipnis, Daily Sports Writer
Published February 16, 2014

When Michigan’s No. 1 boat crossed the finish line, the Wolverines were a full 12 seconds ahead of any other competitor, completing a dominant performance in their second exhibition race of 2014.

Michigan raced in a workout against Central Florida and Tennessee Sunday morning and won in commanding fashion. The Wolverines’ No. 1 boat took first place in all five pieces and the No. 2 boat took second in four out of the five races. Michigan finished first and second in every race and took the top three spots with the exception of two races.

“We had a really productive trip,” said Michigan coach Mark Rothstein. “It was great to compete against Tennessee and Central Florida. We learned a lot and our team is excited to continue to improve.”

The workout, according to assistant coach Annie Knill, consisted of five pieces that were all 1,500 meters. The races were rate capped, which means that each team was only allotted a certain number of strokes per minute. The first two pieces were done at 26 strokes per minute, the third and fourth were capped at 28 strokes per minute and the fifth piece was capped at 28 strokes per minute for the first 1,000. The last 500 meters were at an open rate.

“If you only have 100 strokes to win a race, you have to be very strong and need to put a lot more oomph into each of yours strokes,” Knill said.

A rate capped race format is common for exhibition races, in order to practice something other than a standard 2,000-meter race.

Michigan hasn’t dropped a single race in the exhibition portion of its 2014 schedule after winning by a considerable margin against Central Florida, Tennessee and Texas last Sunday.

The Wolverines’ final exhibition race is March 8 against Miami as they return to Florida for their second straight race. In the meantime, the team will head to Ann Arbor and do a lot of its training indoors.

“The hard work that we have done so far this winter has been paying off,” Knill said. “We are looking forward to more hard work and racing other good teams.”

The first meet of the season will be difficult for Michigan when it opens against defending national champion Ohio State in Columbus on March 29.

“It will be a great test of all the training that we have done,” Knill said. “Our eyes are on the prize right now to beat the Buckeyes.”