This time of year can be tough for rowers as training peaks and races are in full swing, but in their first race away from the familiar Austin waters, the 16th-ranked Longhorns proved they can take on anybody, anywhere. Texas notched victories in five of the six events against Big 12 conference foe Kansas over the weekend.
“When you’re in someone else’s water, you always want to make sure you take it really seriously,” said Texas head coach Carie Graves. “There are no givens; the goal is to row absolutely as well and as fast as you can, no matter who you’re racing or what the conditions.”
Texas did just that. The top two varsity eight boats finished the 2,000-meter race ahead of Kansas by 20 and 16 seconds, respectively. They also recorded victories in the first and second varsity four boats and the top novice eight boat.
“If you can make it through this part of the season, the positive result is you’re going to be able to do that in a race,” Graves said.
After the first couple of months of primarily dual-style racing, the Longhorns move into taking on up to five other boats at once, which changes the whole mind-set of a race.
“That’s really a vision you don’t have in a dual race,” Graves said. “It’s not about anyone else, except you and your boat. It’s not about their speed; it’s about your speed.”
After a successful outing against 10th-ranked Wisconsin at the Longhorn Invitational in March, the Longhorns moved up to No. 16 in the nation and will next take on nationally ranked UCLA, Michigan State and Clemson at the Virginia Invitational next weekend, which is their last race before the Big 12 Championship.
“Everybody has worked very hard and [is] motivated, and you can tell,” Graves said. “We have a possibility of doing very well, and it’s always easier to coach when your team is motivated.”