The Minnesota women’s rowing team won seven of its eight races against Kansas on Saturday in the team’s final preparation before next weekend’s Big Ten championships.
In their only home meet of the spring season and just the fourth overall race of the year for the varsity, the Gophers posted wins with each of the six boats that they’ll take to Columbus, Ohio next Saturday and finished just over a second behind the Jayhawks in the only race Minnesota did not win.
“[Saturday] was a really nice tune-up before we head off to the Big Ten championships,” Gophers coach Wendy Davis said. “We’ve had so little water time this year, it’s ridiculous. We’ve finally had two weeks where we’ve been able to get on the water almost every single day.”
The Gophers opened the day with a second-place finish in the Fourth Varsity Four race, crossing the finish line just over a second after Kansas’ winning time of 7:49.00.
From there, it was all Minnesota.
The Third Varsity Four boat finished four seconds ahead of Kansas with a time of 7:40.1. Minnesota’s “A” boat won the Second Novice Eight race with a time of 7:08.0 while the Gophers’ “B” boat followed closely two seconds later.
The First Novice Eight boat dominated its race with a time of 6:45.6 – more than 30 seconds ahead of the Jayhawks.
“They’re finding their speed,” Davis said of her novice boats.
The Gophers also posted a strong wins in the Second Varsity Four race, where Minnesota crossed the finish line nearly 20 seconds before Kansas “A” and “B” boats with a time of 7:18.8, and the First Varsity Four race, which the Gophers won with a 7:10.2 finish time.
“Our times have been pretty solid,” junior Monica Folker, coxswain of Minnesota’s First Varsity Four boat, said.
“Just being out on the water helps so much.”
The final races of the day didn’t bring an end to Minnesota’s dominance over Kansas as the Gophers took first in the Second Varsity Eight (6:40.8) and the First Varsity Eight race (6:20.2).
Minnesota’s performance on Saturday won’t improve their stock much for the conference rankings, according to Davis.
But senior Allison Fisher said the wins this weekend show that the Gophers are peaking at the right time with the postseason approaching.
“Two weeks … I would have said absolutely not. But we finally got on the water, everybody wants to be on the water,” Fisher said. “We’re just dying to row well.”
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