The Eastern Michigan University women’s rowing team went on the road for their first regatta of the fall season. The Eagles competed Oct. 14 in the Occoquan Chase Regatta in Occoquan, Va.
EMU entered into three separate events (8 , 4 and Novice 4 ) with a total of five boats. The Eagles secured seventh and eighth place in the women’s 8 final with times of 19:23.63 and 19:28.90 respectively. They were only seconds away from the first place team, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The highlight of EMU’s trip went to their Novice 4 for taking first place in their event. The boat consisted of sophomores Lyndsay Tollas, Emily Kent, Stacey Cloutier, freshman Ashley Gilmore and first time coxswain Allison Pecaut. They took first with a time of 22:04.34, less than four seconds ahead of the second place team George Mason University with 22:07:45.
“We wanted to do well,” Tollas said. “But we didn’t go in thinking we were going to win.”
This modest mentality may have helped the girls take home the first win for the team this year, but it was also physically demanding as they had just finished a prior race.
The women knew they needed to pass George Mason who is their biggest competition. The Eagles not only passed their boat, but stayed consistently ahead of them.
In rowing, head races are different as each boat starts at a different time on the same course. The rowers can see who they pass and get passed by, but do not know who won until the times are calculated.
“We felt confident, but just wasn’t sure how well we did,” Tollas said.
The anticipation built as they got off the water and loaded the trailer, still unsure of the results.
In the women’s 4 final, the Eagles took 14th and 18th place out of 25 boats competing in the event. The fastest boat came from TBC Racing with 20:02:42 and the slowest boat came from University of Maryland’s women’s crew with 25:28.36. The EMU boats were in head coach Brad Holdren’s range of expectation.
What disappointed Holdren the most wasn’t the women’s performance, but the fact that senior Amanda Fross and sophomore Tijana Milovanovic were unable to compete in their race. There were some timing issues within the regatta that resulted in the two not racing their boat.
The EMU women’s team heads to Chattanooga, Tenn. Nov. 3-4 for the Head of the Hooch regatta.
Holdren revealed that there will always be lineup changes so there are no guarantees on who is in each boat.
“You have to go with who’s hot at the time,” Holdren said.
The Head of the Hooch is their last fall race and Holdren is already planning to prepare the Eagles for the spring. He plans on tapering the training, getting the girls rested and ready to go.