After many early mornings and hours spent out on the water, the rowing season is finally over. All of the crew members are happy to get their sleep back.
“Being able to sleep in is going to be great,” sophomore varsity member Sarah Grace said. “But I’m also going to miss the feeling of getting through a tough practice with some of my best friends every morning.”
The rowing season is officially over for all SPU squads as the women varsity eight traveled to Oklahoma City last weekend for the Central Sprints Regatta on the Oklahoma River. This squad raced against Western Washington and Central Oklahoma and finished in third place.
Although the standing does not look favorable, WWU and UCO are two of the top Division II rowing schools in the country when it comes to the women’s varsity eight crew. WWU is ranked third and UCO is ranked eighth, respectively.
WWU pulled off the first place finish with a time of 6:58.24 while UCO and SPU finished with times of 7:10.89 and 7:33.20. This was the first time that the women’s varsity eight squad has raced together since April 12 at the Covered Bridge Regatta.
“The way the race turned out was not overly surprising,” head coach Keith Jefferson said. “We knew what Western and Central Oklahoma were capable of, and since our varsity eight has not had that much time to practice together because of injuries, the results make sense.”
SPU crew had not been in action since May 3 for the NCRC Championships. The men’s varsity squad could have traveled to the Dad Vail Regatta on May 10, but Jefferson knew that their time would not be fast enough to place at the race.
“I knew that there was no point in traveling across the country based on the times that we have put up,” Jefferson said.
“We are about six seconds behind Western [Washington], and they finished in third place, so I think it was the right call.”
Although the men’s squad has been done for a couple of weeks now, the women’s squad has continued to wake up early and practice for this final race. They wanted to make sure they were prepped to leave everything on the water.
“We have spent the past couple of weeks really working on technique,” Grace said. “We dropped about 15 seconds from our average time on a really slow course, so we are really proud of ourselves.”
The women’s varsity eight squad accomplished their goal, and now they have a whole summer to relax and not worry about what they could have done differently to improve their time. What was key for them was coming together at the last hours of the season.
“We talked as a boat for about an hour and a half the night before,” Grace said. “We worked out a new race plan that got us all really motivated and connected. This was definitely our best race of the year and a really good way to end.”
Women’s Varsity Eight
1. Western Washington, 6:58.24
2. Central Oklahoma, 7:10.89
3. Seattle Pacific, 7:33.20
SPU lineup: cox–Rachael Collmer, stroke–Jarika Tuohimaa, 7–Baylee O’Camb, 6–Sarah Grace, 5–Alexis Krueger, 4–Paige Ortiz, 3–Serena Carroll, 2–Emma Bolton, bow–Stefanie Swain.