The Michigan rowing team will participate in its final regatta of the fall season, the Head of the Elk, in Elkhart, Ind. this Sunday.
In its prior outing at the Charles River Regatta in Cambridge, Mass., the varsity eight finished sixth among participating colleges and eighth overall. The varsity four finished seventh among colleges and 10th overall.
Senior rower Erin Kopicki was particularly impressed with the team’s performance.
“The Charles is the most important regatta of the fall season,” Kopicki said. “We did really well to hang with big-time schools like Ohio State and Michigan State, especially considering the fact that we have been doing mostly technical training while other teams have focused on speed and endurance.”
Three Michigan alumnae – Kate Mackenzie, Bernadette Marten and Kate Johnson – were in the U.S. Rowing entry that took first place and claimed the Governor’s Cup in the eight-person competition.
Michigan Coach Mark Rothstein said that he would like to see the team’s top two boats again place within the top eight finishers and the team’s third boat place not far behind in the Head of the Elk.
Overall, Rothstein said that he has been pleased with the team’s performance during the fall season.
“The team has shown a really good attitude and enjoyed a productive season, setting a good base for the upcoming spring season,” Rothstein said.
He cited Kopicki and seniors Kate Maxim and Helen Ballas for “doing a great job, stepping up and training hard.”
Rothstein explained that there are significant differences between the fall and spring rowing seasons. The fall season features longer races, where teams focus more on beating the clock than on beating each other. There is more emphasis on tradition and boats are mixed, allowing rowers of different ability levels to row together. The spring races are shorter and feature teams rowing head-to-head in a much more competitive environment.
After Sunday’s meet, the team will move indoors to continue training for the spring season. “The team will spend the offseason training on indoor ergometers in order to build our rowers’ aerobic endurance,” Rothstein said.
The first regatta of the spring season will be Feb.22 against Notre Dame at the Michigan Boathouse. Rothstein said that he hopes that the team will improve upon last season’s eighth-place finish at the NCAA tournament.
“A number of rowers on the team have the potential to make the United States National Team,” Rothstein said. “We’ve had several Michigan rowers make the National Team in the past, and a number of rowers on this year’s team are ahead of those people at comparable points in their careers.”
Assistant coach Emily Ford expressed optimism about the coming season.
“I am excited about the character of this team,” she said. “Technically and psychologically, we are in a great place. I am looking forward to seeing where the team goes from here.”