Bad weather doesn't stop rowing from sweeping SMUBy Ehsan Kassim | 04/23/2017 5:57pm
Racing in “crappy” weather has been a theme for the Alabama women’s rowing team during the Spring 2017 season, when they hit the road, according to their head coach. They experienced more of the same in traveling to Dallas for a regatta against SMU on Friday.
Fortunately for Larry Davis, he has seen enough from his team this season battling through adversity to feel confident the girls can rise to the challenge. They did so again on Friday.
With the threat of inclement weather in the Dallas area, the Saturday’s races were consolidated and moved up to Friday morning. Alabama and SMU went head-to-head in four races, with Alabama sweeping all four of the races on White Rock Lake.
“It was very windy today but the team did a good job in handling the conditions,” Davis said. “It’s been pleasing to see that when we’ve had less-than-ideal conditions this spring the girls have stepped up their game. We’ve been able to sweep four of our five races this spring which is great. We’re learning to handle less-than-great conditions and are performing well at home and on the road and able to sweep. It bodes well for us at the conference championship and it’s a positive note to finish on heading into final exams.”
Tulsa was also scheduled to race Alabama, but canceled because it would not be able to race on Saturday due to the weather.
Alabama’s First Varsity 8+ crew beat SMU by four seconds, posting the fastest time of the day at 6:43.4. The Crimson Tide’s Second Varsity 8+ beat out its own Third Varsity 8+ and SMU with a time of 6:58.4.
The Alabama First Varsity 4+ beat SMU’s boat by a good margin with a 7:26.6 time, edging SMU by nearly 50 seconds. In the Second/Third Varsity 4+, Alabama’s Second Varsity 4+ edged out their Third Varsity 4+, with both boats finishing a minute ahead of SMU.
Davis feels that overcoming so much adversity the past few weeks should provide a boost for them for the rest of the season.
“It should certainly give them the kind confidence they need, that even if you don’t have things just perfect for you, you can find a way to make the kind of execution you want, so you can be successful on race day,” Davis said.
Senior Jennifer Parker is looking forward to the race in Dallas, as that and the Big 12 Championships will likely be her final two races with the Crimson Tide.
Parker knew that the conditions in Dallas can be rough and won’t likely be fun to deal with, but she is confident the team will come together for the race.
“It’s supposed to be extremely windy,” Parker said. “With wind comes a lot of waves and a lot of splashing. Really, you got to commit to the fact that it’s not going to feel great, at all. It’s going to be choppy, it’s going to be rough and it’s going to hurt, just because you’re going to have to use different muscles of your body to balance out with all the splashing and all the waves. So, it’s an interesting one, you kind of just have to commit to each other, no matter what.”
Parker was one of the seniors honored at Senior Day on March 25. She enjoyed being honored for her dedication for her four years of rowing at UA.
“It was exciting,” Parker said. “I mean, I watched my sister do it four years ago. I watched her get her “A” ring and get her flowers, and I was like ‘That’s going to be me in four years.’ And then it happened way faster than I thought it would. It was kind of exciting and sad. It is very exciting to get that recognition and for people to be able to see that you put so much for the last four years of your life into rowing.”
With just one remaining race in the season and Parker’s career at Alabama, she still hopes to accomplish the goals the team set out before the season.
“Our big goal is still to medal some of our boats at conference,” Parker said. “I am super confident about that, because we’ve had such a strong start of the season. I think we have a very good shot of giving that goal a checkmark.”
Alabama's final race will be the Big 12 Championship on May 13-14 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.