Women’s rowing taking advantage of nice weather

first_imgAs spring finally emerged across the University of Wisconsin campus this weekend – flowers began to bloom, the temperature rose and the sun peaked out from behind the rain clouds – women’s rowing coach Bebe Bryans and the women’s rowing team breathed a collective sigh of relief.No. 14 Wisconsin hosted its first regatta of the season on Lake Mendota, racing in a Big Ten double dual meet against conference opponents Minnesota and Michigan State Sunday – defeating both teams in five of the six races.“Yesterday was a pretty remarkable day for Badgers and for Wisconsin athletics just because we had such a fantastic day out at the Porter Boathouse,” Bryans said at her Monday press conference. “Just to be to able to have it be a spectacularly perfect day was an anomaly.”Nice weather hasn’t been the story for most of the season.Less than a month ago, the opening conference race of the season on April 13 hosted by Iowa had to be cancelled when heavy winds created lake conditions with 18-inch whitecaps too difficult to race in.Throughout the rest of the spring the Badgers have struggled to find a place to practice at times – forcing them to use more inventive methods.So far this season, the Wisconsin rowing team has already traveled to Iowa to practice prior to its cancelled meet April 13 and flew to California on two separate occasions to participate in three separate regattas on April 6, 20 and 21.Bryans said they were finally able to begin practicing on the water in Madison just two weeks ago.Once the ice finally broke and conditions became conducive to rowing, Bryans said the team has a variety of places to practice in Madison.“We have different options around Lake Mendota and on Wingra, where we can take our boats and row,” Bryans said Monday. “In fact, this morning … I was moving oars from Lake Wingra back to the Boathouse. … We transport our boats around the lake. We are inventive with what we can do to get them on the water.”When they couldn’t practice outside earlier in the season, the team was many times forced to practice inside on ergometers instead, which simulate the motions of rowing a boat.Fortunately, Bryans said having Porter Boathouse, which she described as “the best indoor training facility in the country,” helped reduce the problems the weather caused for Wisconsin’s training regimen this year.“We do line rowers up on things called sliders, so the ergs move together,” Bryans said. “We have a big enough facility that we can sometimes get eight people in a row so that we can put those boats together, and we do that.“Unfortunately for us, we’ve had to make use of [Porter Boathouse] a lot more than normal this year.”Beyond the expected problems that come with trying to simulate lake rowing inside, the sporadic practice schedule created new issues for a group of athletes that also has to deal with academic responsibilities during the semester.Bryans said she has been impressed with how the team has been able to handle the ups and downs this year and stressed the critical role communication has played in their ability to coordinate where practice will be held.“They are amazingly easy going with that,” Bryans said. “We’ve got good communication with them, and we say we’re going to be here tomorrow, be there or we’re going to be there. … Wherever we need to go, they’ll do anything to not have to erg anymore.”Moving forward, Bryans hopes being on the water throughout the next two weeks will put this highly-ranked Badger team in contention for a strong finish when Wisconsin heads to the Big Ten Championships May 19 in Indianapolis.Bryans believes the team’s mix of young talent and senior leadership has been what has kept it competitive despite its weather misfortunes.“I’ve got a great group of athletes,” Bryans said. “We’ve been on the water for about two weeks now, and yet we are two weeks away from the Big Ten Championship.“So to be optimistic at this point, which I am, I think is a testament to those women and the rest of the coaching staff in the job they’ve [done] getting us ready for the championships and beyond.”last_img