Rowing Enters 2015 Season with Confidence

The Wildcats will enter the 2015 season next week coming off of their most successful season in program history. Along with a program-best second place finish in the Big 12 Championship and third-place finish at Conference USAs in 2014, four Wildcats were named All-Big 12 last season while the team also boasted the 2014 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in Noelle Dykmann. Last year K-State saw wins over nationally-ranked Oklahoma at the Longhorn Invitational, and beat KU for the fourth consecutive year in the Sunflower Showdown.
It was an exciting, unforgettable season, but it was only the beginning.
"We're learning how to gain more speed," said K-State head coach Pat Sweeney last week after returning from a training weekend in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "The program over the next few years, it's changing, and we're just going to get faster and faster as a team... It's more competitive this year than it was last year - actually, I think it's more competitive than it's ever been before, and that's always fun."
Along with the hard work put in by the team day in and day out in practice, last season's success was credited greatly to the new Intercollegiate Rowing Center [IRC] which opened just in time to prepare for the 2014 season. The opportunity it presented with its two, 2,800 gallon tanks helped the team continue training when frozen off the water during the winter months. 
While last year the team had the IRC available for just a few months before the season began, this season, the team has taken advantage of it for an entire year. Its impact has been immense. 
"It makes it easier to get back into the boat," said senior Lacey Reifschneider. "It's easier to continue working on technique work all year, so when you get back into your boat, you can just go right into your technique. It's one less thing you really have to focus on when you get on the water."
While in previous years it used to take the Wildcats nearly half of season to gain back their technique after spending the winter off the water, Sweeney said, thanks to the tanks at the IRC, it now only takes the team a day or so to get back into the swing of things.
"We can do the basic technique in here; we can pound them on the machines and with the weight training and everything else. We can get them fit and get them strong and hold the basic technique, but there's a different gear you go to when you're in the boat," explained Sweeney. "But with the tanks now, it takes a day or two to get used to being back on the water."
While training indoors in the rowing tanks helps hold the team's technique, nothing compares to the actual thing. So, luckily for the Wildcats, the team will be getting a lot of water time in next week.
Spending its Spring Break training in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the team's Spring Camp, K-State will spend as much time on the water as it can this week before kicking off its 2015 season against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday, March 21. 
"It's going to be really beneficial to have that practice leading up to a race. It'll be great to at least get our toes in the water," said Dykmann, Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a key factor in last year's success. "It's going to be really, really helpful to have that whole week of at least two row's a day. That will be so beneficial to us."
Following the Wildcats' training and competition in Tulsa, K-State will travel to San Diego, California, for the San Diego Crew Classic on March 28 and 29 followed by a trip to Oak Ridge, Tennessee for the SIRA on April 18 and 19. 
"I am really excited to get started," said Dykmann. "We've just been working so hard for so long. We've been almost there, almost there, we keep saying that, so I'm just so excited to start traveling and finally race. You train so hard and so long and every race is about seven minutes, so you race not even an hours worth of total race time for hours and hours and hours and hours worth of preparation.
"I'm just ready to show off all the hard work that we've put in. It's going to be really exciting to see."
With a team full of hard workers, a great facility and a whole lot of confidence, K-State rowing is on track for one its best seasons to date. 
"We don't see ourselves at the bottom anymore," closed Reifschneider. "We know what we're capable of now, so it's easier for us to say, 'We can do this. There is no way they're going to just beat us because we can compete against them.' I think everybody sees that we're capable of winning Big 12s now. Finishing strong last season gives everybody that extra drive to actually go for it."

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