UT women's rowing head coach Lisa Glenn seems to have humble expectations for this spring season.
"We want to progress from last year and just continue to work on our boat movement skills and work together," the sixth-year coach said.
But looking to improve on an appearance at NCAAs last season and a top-15 final ranking is far from humble.
A return to the NCAA Finals looks promising for the Lady Vols, who return five rowers from last year's squad, but more importantly two of those returnees were named All-Americans as sophomores.
Now juniors, Kaitlin Bargreen and Chelsea Pemberton will be the leaders in the Varsity 8+ shell, according to coach Glenn. Bargreen is the first rower in the program's history to earn first-team All-American honors, while Pemberton earned a second-team nod.
The Varsity 8+ shell is not a veterans only boat. Sophomore Lauren Wells and freshman Sarah Hutchinson will add their youthful enthusiasm to the Lady Vols' Varsity 8+ shell.
Wells is a returnee from the Championship 8+ shell that finished 14th at the Head of the Charles in the fall. Hutchinson also saw some time in the Championship 8+ shell but will be the most inexperienced rower in the shell.
The team began the 2003-04 season with outstanding performances in the fall. The lady rowers earned seven gold medals at four regattas, along with a top-10 finish among collegiate shells in the Championship 8+ at the distinguished Head of the Charles in Boston, Mass.
The Lady Vols were rewarded for their stellar fall season with a spring, pre-season ranking of 13th nationally by the US Rowing Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association and will no doubt continue to climb after their performance this past weekend.
The team began its spring season in impressive fashion, defeating Michigan Sate and Notre Dame at Fort Loudon Lake. The team finished the day with three victories and seven second-place finishes.
Highlighting the win was the performance of the Varsity 8+ shell team, which was victorious in all three of its races, defeating the 8th-ranked Lady Spartans' in each of the three sessions.
"This is the very beginning of the season, and we need to take each race as an opportunity," Glenn said. "Nationals are at the end of May, and it is important to have a good start."
The Lady Vol rowers echoed their coach's sentiment with their performance last weekend and are looking to continue that type of effort as they head into what will be their last home meet of the season against the Lady Gophers of Minnesota.
The dual meet will feature the Varsity 8+ shell, Second Varsity 8+, Second Varsity 4+, Novice 8+ and Second Novice 8+. The starting time of the meet has yet to be announced but will take place Saturday at Fort Loudon Lake near the Tennessee Boathouse.