After emerging second best in all five races against Brown, the Cornell women’s rowing team is looking for a better result in this weekend’s Clemson Invitational below the Mason–Dixon Line.
On Saturday the Red was overpowered by a dominant No. 9 Brown, which recorded victories in the varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity 4A, varsity 4B/C and third varsity eight. This led to Brown recapturing the Dunn Bowl on the Seekonk River. Cornell head coach Elizabeth Dennison noted the strength of the competition within the Ivy League.
“Brown is currently ranked ninth in the country and a team that we respect as great competitors and a fun team to race,” Dennison said. “The Ivy League is one of the fastest leagues in the country, with half the league currently ranked in the top 20 in the nation, so each weekend we know we are seeing top end speed when we line up against our league competitors.”
Dennison also noted that the team’s performances marked an improvement on previous weekends, an indication that despite the result, the Red is progressing.
“All the crews raced more effectively and with a better approach this weekend than past,” she said. “This is a step in the right direction, but the key is to take those steps and keep moving the ball forward as we head into the home stretch of our regular season.”
The team members and coaches alike are aware of the different sort of challenges that this week’s Clemson Invitation in South Carolina will pose. According to senior varsity captain Caroline Crawford, the team is excited to race in the second biggest regatta of the season.
“We get to race six boats across which is a super exciting and fun environment to race in,” Crawford said. “Most of our races are dual races, meaning us versus one other boat, but the format of Clemson is much more similar to how we race at Ivy championships later in May.”
Dennison highlighted the technical benefits of the Clemson race structure.
“This race format is good practice and a different kind of challenge for our coxswains, as there is more information for them to relay to the rowers and crews to watch as they help to guide the crew down the race course,” she said.
Another unique aspect of this weekend’s invitational is that the team will have the opportunity to race three times — the same number of races that it has competed in over the past three weeks — which will prove a test of the Red’s stamina and endurance.
“Another challenge for the athletes is managing their recovery and mental focus, having to get up and prepared — mentally and physically — for racing that many times in a weekend,” Dennison said. “We will talk a lot about how to manage that and execute at a high level three times over the course of the weekend.”
Dennison noted the quality of opponents is similar to that of the Ivy League. With 21 total teams in attendance, 10 of 11 of the teams have consistently been ranked in the top 20 teams in the nation this year. This is similar to the makeup of the Ivy League, where half the league is ranked in the top 20 in the nation.
“It is a deep, fast field against which test our speed,” Dennison said. “We are looking forward to it.”