The Michigan rowing team’s first boat may have finished 16 seconds behind No. 3 Virginia Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t discouraged.
Even though the Wolverines weren’t much competition, their first and second varsity-eight boats beat Duke earlier in the day, each by more than 10 seconds.
The races were the Wolverines’ first of the spring season. Michigan competed against the Cavaliers and Duke at the ACC/Big Ten Double Dual on Griggs Reservoir in Columbus.
Michigan’s second varsity-eight boat fared better against Virginia, but couldn’t overtake the Cavaliers, falling by just under seven seconds.
The first varsity-four boat came up short against both the Blue Devils and Cavaliers.
The Wolverines expected the tough competition, especially from Virginia. It was Michigan’s first race on the water this season, while Virginia arrived in Columbus with three races already under its belt.
Michigan assistant coach Veronika Platzer, who coached the Cavaliers for four years, has first-hand experience with Virginia’s aggressive style. Platzer believes the Wolverines can match the Cavaliers’ level of competition as the season goes on.
“To beat Virginia you have to be fit, you have to be toned, you have to be challenging,” Platzer said. “We match up incredibly well with those guys. When I looked at Virginia today, I thought, ‘This is us in about two weeks time.’ “
Over the next few weeks, Michigan will gain speed and strength with more races.
“We want to go to NCAAs and be competitive,” Platzer said.
“We’re all about racing the hardest and fastest teams and making ourselves more competitive and ultimately being the team to beat.”
With warmer weather and better on-water practicing conditions, the Wolverines will gear up for another event in Columbus this weekend against Southern Cal and Tennessee. They feel they have all the ingredients for a tough, competitive team, and that everything will come together with more experience and practice.
“We have one of the deepest, most talented teams ever assembled and it’s just going to take a little more time than we had anticipated,” Platzer said.