Rowing Returns to Action in Austin

March 20, 2014

Race Schedule (Tentative)K-State AthleticsMANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State Women’s Rowing opens the second half of its season in Austin, Texas, this weekend, as they will compete in the Longhorn Invitational on Lady Bird Lake. It will mark the first time the Wildcats have been on the water for competition since late October.

The invitational will feature two-lane, head-to-head racing on a 2,000 meter course, as K-State is scheduled to compete against Big 12 foes Texas and Oklahoma as well as Yale, UCF, San Diego, Canisius and Tulsa.  Competition will be tough, as both Yale (No. 8) and Oklahoma (No. 19) rank within the Division I Top-20.

Head coach Patrick Sweeney said the most notable change for the team will be the switch from the 5K time trials to the 2K sprints. With the distance being much smaller, Sweeney said the team will race in greater volume and it will allow for the team to utilize several more boats.

“We’ll have six boats racing in the morning and six boats racing in the afternoon, with the same again on Sunday morning,” Sweeney said. “It’s a little bit more detail of each crew and how they’re racing.”

In the Saturday morning races, K-State will face off against the Sooners in six total races. Sweeney said a point system will then be utilized from these races to determine each school’s Saturday afternoon opponent, as well as its foe for Sunday morning.

With the team having trained for what will be a full week prior to this weekend’s meet, Sweeney said, along with the invitational, he and the coaches will find a lot out about if the team’s training during the winter has translated onto the water.

“Because we haven’t been on the water [at home], this will be the first opportunity to [test] what we’ve seen in training [in Manhattan] and the rough idea of what we think is the first, second, third boat [etc.],” Sweeney said. “Now what we’ve got to do is actually put them on the water and see if we were right.”

Sweeney added from their training to this weekend’s meet, the next step is to find out the best boat combinations in the most efficient way possible.

“We are trying to get the right personnel in the right boat,” Sweeney said. “And then as soon as possible, trying to get them in the right order within that boat and that’s really what this next step is.”

The team’s brand new facility, the Intercollegiate Rowing Center, has also played, and will continue to be, a major factor in how the team handles its boat combinations. One example Sweeney mentioned was the novice rowers having already begun to show notable improvement, so much so that some are making cases to row with the more experienced rowers on the team.

“[The IRC] has played a major part,” Sweeney said. “What we saw at the winter camp [in January] is that the team had been further advanced than what we had seen in years past. It will be interesting to see if we see these results again with the latest camp and races.

“I would say we have worked 50 percent harder here than we have [in Austin] any other year. The volume of work they’re doing, the intensity of work they’re doing is way above what we have ever done before.”

The results don’t lie either, as the team has kept tabs on each individual athlete’s performance on the erg machines within the facility by timing them under specific distances. In almost every case, the results have shown the athletes to have bested their times from the beginning of training, a number that Sweeney said goes well over 90 percent of the entire roster.

At the end of the day though, the beginning of the second part of the season for women’s rowing in Austin will allow for the coaches to see if the data collected will translate to success on the water.

“We’re really pleased with where they’re at physically,” Sweeney said. “But now we’ve got to see if that translates to on the water. The first step is the combination because they can be great here [in training], but if it doesn’t mesh on the water then that’s not good. The next step is to see what combinations work and the third is can they handle the stress and strain of racing.”

Action on Saturday for the Wildcats is scheduled to open in the morning at 8:50 a.m., against the Sooners and then pick back up against a new opponent in the afternoon beginning at 4 p.m. The concluding Sunday action is expected to start at 8 a.m. For more information on this weekend’s race, visit