COLUMBUS The Michigan women”s crew had been looking forward to facing No. 2 Southern Cal. at the Buckeye Invitational all week.
On Saturday, the Wolverines made the most of their opportunity to race against the Trojans not to mention everyone else in the field by winning all 12 races that their boats competed in.
Host Ohio State, Michigan State, Clemson, Iowa and Kansas joined Michigan and Southern Cal at the Invitational, although no Michigan boats faced Clemson or Kansas.
Michigan”s first varsity eight boat won each of its races by almost four seconds over second-place Southern Cal. The boat used strong rowing between 1,000 and 1,500 meters in both of its 2,000-meter races to propel it to victory.
In the first race, the Wolverines fell behind the Trojans and trailed at the halfway point. But Michigan passed Southern Cal. shortly thereafter and led the rest of the way. The Wolverines finished with a time of 6:35.92.
“I knew that was going to be a tough race and both of the races were close and tough races,” Michigan head coach Mark Rothstein said.
After coming from behind to beat Southern Cal. in the morning, Michigan led the Trojans, Ohio State and Michigan State wire-to-wire in the afternoon race.
Michigan rowed an almost identical time to its morning performance, finishing in 6:35.80. Southern Cal. again placed second but considerably closed the amount of open water between itself and Michigan by the end of the race.
“We started out pretty solid the first 500,” first varsity coxswain Helen Dalis said about the race. “Then the second 500 we just kept our lead we didn”t really make a big move or anything.
“But, then in the third 500, we really made a big move and we opened up on them quite a bit. The last 500, we didn”t have a very good sprint. We were really tired, you could tell.”
Or, as Christine Meyer explained it, “We pulled away a lot sooner but it didn”t really open up as much in the second race.”
The second varsity eight won its morning race by almost nine seconds and its afternoon race by five. Michigan”s second boat clocked a 6:32.10 in its afternoon race, three seconds faster than either of the times the first varsity eight rowed.
Rothstein attributed this time discrepancy to different weather conditions during the various races.
In its” morning race, Michigan”s first varsity four faced just Iowa. The Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes by nine seconds. In their second race, the Wolverines defeated Michigan State and Ohio State by seven and 10 seconds, respectively. Their stellar performance earned them special praise from their coach.
“If I had to pick one boat out that I thought really did a nice job, it would be our first varsity four because they just had a lineup change,” Rothstein said.
“They only had rowed for one day which is really unusual and they responded really well and were victorious against some good crews.”
Michigan”s second varsity four raced against Ohio State and Michigan State in both of its races. Each time, the Wolverines placed first, Ohio State came in second and Michigan State finished third. Michigan triumphed in the two races by seven and six seconds, respectively.
As if this run of victories wasn”t enough, Michigan”s novice boats also were dominant.
In the morning, the Wolverines” first and second boats went head-to-head with Iowa and beat the Hawkeyes by 13 and 21 seconds, respectively.
In the afternoon, the competition got tougher, but Michigan”s two boats still won by seven and 10 seconds, respectively.