The No. 7 Michigan rowing team had to deal with both stiff competition and bad weather this weekend.
Neither could stop the Wolverines from coming away from the Central Region Sprints in Oak Ridge, Tenn. with a probable bid to nationals. But the team was unable to capture its sixth consecutive Central region title, which No. 10 Ohio State claimed.
“We raced pretty well,” Michigan coach Mark Rothstein said. “We raced well enough to qualify for nationals.”
The first varsity eight placed third with a time of 6:20.7, and both the first varsity four and second varsity eight were able to come away from the regatta in second place with times of 6:33.2 and 7:09.0, respectively.
The team will not receive an official bid to the NCAA Championships on May 30th until Tuesday evening. But its strong season, coupled with a good showing at the regional competition this weekend, all but guarantees the team a spot.
“We would have liked to have won this weekend,” Rothstein said. “You always want to win. But we want to peak at nationals. It was most important that we qualify. Overall, we are very pleased with our performance this weekend.”
Thunderstorms delayed all of the races on Saturday, and forced the Michigan first varsity eight to race twice within a 90-minute span. But the crew was able to pull out wins in both races to qualify for the finals on Sunday. The other crews followed suit as all five Michigan boats qualified for the finals.
“It was great for all five boats to make it to Sunday,” Rothstein said. “The novice boat had its best performance of the year and the second varsity four did really well, too. Those are their last races of the year because they don’t compete at nationals.”
Rothstein has high hopes for nationals, saying that the team looks forward to competing against the best teams in the country. He wants to see how his squad stacks up against the nation’s best after two hard weeks of practice.
“We are having a great season,” Rothstein said. “We can finish high if we row well.”