Rowing team building off of recent gold medal performanceBy Ehsan Kassim | 11/01/2017 10:50pm
The Alabama rowing team did something it had never done at the Head of the Charles regatta, and it also set a record for the event.
The Alabama 4+ crew earned a gold medal, while the 8+ crew placed in the top 10, just seconds away from finishing with a medal as well.
“Getting a gold medal in the Charles isn’t something that happens very often for any team, so we are certainly excited about that prospect,” said head coach Larry Davis.
The 4+ crew finished with a 18:02.402 time, 20 seconds ahead of second-place Penn. The time was a course record for the 4+.
Emily Navin (coxswain), Tayla Cabana, Raien Emery, Nicole Lane and Charlotte Adkins were on the 4+ crew boat that performed well in Boston.
“To race on a very tricky course, it means that both coxswains and rowers did an excellent job,” Davis said. “You have to have good coxswains as well as good rowing to perform well up there and to be able to faster than any other crew, and to pick up a gold medal.
Senior Lydia Blount, a member of the 8+ crew believes the team’s commitment to build each other up and to compete as hard as possible made the performance possible.
The 8+ crew finished in seventh place, crossing the line at 17:03.774, just behind Syracuse and Northeastern.
The performance bodes well for the spring season for Alabama, but Davis cautions the team still has work ahead of them to continue to improve the boat speed.
“There’s still things to come this fall that will obviously tell us exactly what we are doing,” Davis said. “But to go out and row against as many crews as we did in Boston in both the 8 and the 4 and to do as well as we did, I think it really bodes well for what we’re able to accomplish. But it’s more than just two crews, our whole team has to do well. But I would say it shows that we’re doing some things properly to be able to go out in a big race like that.”
Next up for Alabama will be the Head of the Hooch on Nov. 4-5 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Alabama is looking forward to the challenges it will face in Chattanooga.
“We’re looking forward to seeing really good competition,” Blount said. “Oklahoma is going to be there; they are in our conference. That will give us a good scope of where we are at, relative to them for the spring season, for the spring, when conference rolls around.”
Along with Oklahoma, Clemson and Louisville be some of the teams Alabama will face. All three have been to the NCAA tournament, something Alabama wants to do this season.
“That’s our aspiration this year, to be fast enough and get to the NCAAs,” Davis said. “We certainly want to compare how we are doing and have a great race against them this weekend. That will give us an indication of where we are.”
Unfortunately for Alabama and its fast start, fall races are not going to determine its chances for making the tournament. But it can build confidence in these regattas to help position itself better for the spring season.
"That’s the kind of speed we need and want,” Davis said. “We are having a chance to compare ourselves to them at this point in time.”