Rowing opens spring seasonBy Ehsan Kassim | 02/23/2017 6:36pm
After a strong finish to the fall season, the University of Alabama women’s rowing team will begin its spring season on Saturday with a meet against Eastern Michigan.
The meet will be the first for the team since Nov 5. but the long layoff does not concern the team, as both coach Larry Davis and senior Jennifer Parker believe that the team is well prepared for the race.
“This year we came back way more in shape than in year’s past,” Parker said. “We were given a set of workouts to do during winter break and everyone was more committed to stay in shape over the break.”
Over the past month, the team has been hard at work, practicing every morning at 6 a.m. The month of preparation has Parker overjoyed to return to the river to race in an actual meet.
“I’m looking forward to finally racing,” Parker said. “It’s been a long month of work without much excitement, or fun parts. Finally having the chance to go out on the river and racing to put it all together is exciting.”
Rowing with her teammates is the favorite part of rowing for Parker and is something she cherishes in her final semester at the University. She chose to follow her elder sister’s footsteps in rowing at the University.
Parker relishes the fact there is not one superstar in the sport. She points out that if all the rowers do not work together, the boat would not be able to move at all.
However, Davis is proud of the growth he has seen from Parker since her freshman season. He said she is a strong leader and he has high expectations for her in her final semester.
“Jen has the potential and the desire to be one of the best rowers on the team,” Davis said. “I think she has a chance to medal this upcoming semester.”
Davis is looking forward to how the team rows in their first meet since November, but he is not expecting his team to be perfect right out of the break. He believes that while the team is in good shape for this time of the year, not being in the water for an extended period could throw off their timing and sequencing.
“We made great progress in the fall, but now being off the water for a while, we need to get back the unity of motion and sequencing," Davis said.
In the last meet of the fall semester, Alabama won three silver medals, its highest finish at a meet this season. Alabama collected silver medals in the Open 8+, Novice 8+ and Championship 2x events.
While the medals were nice rewards for Davis to see his team earn, he was pleased with the team’s effort and performance regardless. The team reached the ideal boat speed Davis wished for and executed at a high level.
“It’s always nice to get a reward for good work, but there is much more at stake than just earning an award,” Davis said. “Based on who we faced and how the team performed, the reward is a reflection of the great work they put in.”
The extended break will keep Alabama from being where they were to end the fall season in its first meet, but that does not mean they don’t have high expectations for themselves.
While Davis says the team is likely a year away from having the NCAAs as a realistic goal, the team is laying the foundation this upcoming season.
Parker said the team has a poster board with their team goals in its Boathouse that the team hopes to achieve this semester.
“We want to get at least 10 percent of the rowers below 7:10,” Parker said. “We also want all the boats to make grands at the conferences in the Big 12.”