Spring break in Florida wasn’t all beach volleyball and mimosas for the women’s rowing team. Instead, they spent their break in Tampa perfecting their on-the-water stroke with a week-long, two-a-day extravaganza.

“We’re really lucky,” said senior coxswain Colleen Macke. “We’re a big team, and the fact that we get to bring so many people down on our training trip is a great opportunity.”

Macke added that the trip is a phenomenal way to regain their water legs. Though the team has been working out on the ergometer to maximize endurance throughout winter training, there’s nothing more essential to a team’s success than on-the-water experience.

“We spent a lot of time working on blade-work,” Macke said. “That’s something we can’t do in Michigan in the winter.”

The Wolverines capped their spring break off with an exhibition against Miami (Fla). The race was split into three flights, with each flight competing in four 1,000-meter races. The first flight consisted of each team’s first and second varsity eight boats (1v8, 2v8). In the second flight was the Wolverines first-forth varsity four boats (1-4v4) and Miami’s first varsity four (1v4). To wrap it all up in the third flight was Michigan’s first and second novice eights (1n8, 2n8) and the Hurricanes first novice eight (1n8).

Overall, it was a strong showing for the Wolverines.

The first flight of Michigan boats went undefeated against Miami. The fastest time of the day came from the 1v8 in its second race at a rating of 30 strokes per minute, finishing in a time of 3.12.4. Each boat beat its respective competition, save for a tie in the second race, when the both 2v8s finished at 3.16.7.

Michigan continued its success in the second flight, putting its 1v4 and 2v4 ahead of Miami’s 1v4 in the first two races and all four boats ahead of Miami in the last two. Similar to the first flight, the fastest time of that segment came in the second race from Michigan’s 1v4 with a time of 3:42. The Wolverines’ 2v4 trailed the 1v4 by five seconds in each of the races.

In the third flight, the Wolverine novice eights beat the Hurricanes’ novice eight by a wide margin. Both the 1n8 and 2n8 finished ahead of Miami, with Michigan’s 2n8 beating Miami by more than 20 seconds in the first three races. The fasted time in the third flight came from Michigan’s 1n8 with a time of 3:30.7 in the second race.

For each race, each boat picked up a stroke rating two strokes per minute faster than the last. The varsity eights started their first race at 28 strokes per minute while the varsity fours and the novice eights started at a 26. For all the flights, the final race was an open rating, meaning they were allowed to row as fast as the boat felt comfortable rowing.

“The race at the end was our first gauge of speed since it was our first high rating piece of the year,” Macke said.

Though Michigan’s 1v overpowered Miami, when asked about her boats overall performance, Macke said it was a “mixed-bag.”

“We had really good intensity, but we have a lot of things that we can clean up,” Macke said.

This was made evident by the times each boat produced. Though each race increased in stroke rating, their times did not improve accordingly. For each flight, the second race was the fastest, suggesting that the rowers may be struggling with consistency and control at the higher ratings. This is not unusual for Michigan’s first time out on the water in months, and as Macke noted, its first time competing at a high rating all year.

Strong, consistent power application is something that a boat acquires through hours and hours of focused, on-the-water practice — something that the women’s rowing team will get plenty of now that winter season is officially closed.

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