Having to travel across the country against some of the best teams on the West Coast may have seemed like a daunting task to the Tennessee Lady Vol rowing team. Luckily, the 17th-ranked Orange and White put on an impressive showing by finishing fourth at the Lake Natoma Invitational in Sacramento, Calif.
Lady Vol head coach Lisa Glenn came away pleased with what her team learned from this past weekend.
I thought it was extremely beneficial for us to go out there, she said. I think that the athletes in every crew that we had racing learned a great deal about racing and their own crews and their strengths and also about some of their limitations that were going to need to work on.
On the first day of competition, the Lady Vols scored 25 points in six races. The varsity four team led off the regatta with a third place finish in the third flight behind 13th-ranked Washington State and 20th-ranked Minnesota. The following race would provide a spark for the Lady Vols, as the second varsity eight team won their heat with a time of 6:39.40.
The last race of the first session saw the Lady Vols put together a second place result as the top varsity eight team lost by only a second to Washington State. Glenn noted how important it was for each crew to remain focused on the task at hand.
Once it comes to race day, its very important that each crew stay focused on themselves and their performance and not get too wrapped up in whats going on among the other crews, Glenn said.
On Sunday, the Lady Vols rallied past 14th-ranked Wisconsin to secure fourth place in the regatta and first place in Group B. Setting the tone for the Lady Vols was the varsity four team. They provided a second place finish behind the Badgers to keep UT within striking distance. With the same result posted by the second varsity eight team, it all came down to the Lady Vols final event of the varsity top eight.
In the heat with Wisconsin and Louisville, the Big Orange put on a solid display in winning by nearly five seconds over Wisconsin. By virtue of winning that race with a time of 6:36.0, Tennessee claimed fourth place with the tiebreaker over Wisconsin as each team had 40 total points for the regatta.
Melissa Toms, a junior in the second varsity eight boat, discussed how the team has come together since early January.
I think weve done a lot of great work since the beginning of the season, Toms said. I think its coming along really well. I think we still have some more room to improve because you dont want to be peaking this early in the season anyway.
After a week off, Tennessee faces another tough task in New Jersey as they take on sixth-ranked Princeton Tigers on May 1st.