The Coach Kurt Butler

On Saturday, February 11th, the current team and family and friends of Coach Kurt Butler gathered at the McConnell Family Boathouse for a surprise dedication in his honor; the team recently purchased a Vespoli VHP 8+ to be named the "Coach Kurt Butler". Gathered around the new boat, past rowers who had been coached by Kurt Butler recounted countless memories, speaking of Butler's fiery passion, his commitment to the development of the whole individual, and his love of Notre Dame Rowing. 

Kurt Butler coached the Notre Dame Men's Rowing Team from Fall 2001 to Spring 2012; under his leadership, the V8, 2V8, N8, and 2N8 medalled at the ACRA National Championship Regatta. Most importantly, Coach Butler was able to grow the team immensely--his final year of coaching at Notre Dame featured four eights. 

From the perspective of someone who had never met Coach Butler prior to Saturday's dedication, it was remarkable to witness how many lives Coach Butler impacted. From the stories of his past rowers, it was evident that he was much more than just a coach to an extraordinary amount of people. It was an honor for the team to be able to name our new shell after such an outstanding individual. 

The Coach Kurt Butler 

The Coach Kurt Butler 

From left to right, Matt DiDonato ('17), Marcus Fennessy ('18), Coach Kurt Butler, Coach Mike Lehmann, Coach Nick Springer, Coach Zach Stackhouse, and Bill Bloebaum ('17)

From left to right, Matt DiDonato ('17), Marcus Fennessy ('18), Coach Kurt Butler, Coach Mike Lehmann, Coach Nick Springer, Coach Zach Stackhouse, and Bill Bloebaum ('17)

Winter Training Trip Wrap-Up

Gainesville, GA

Twenty-four rowers and three coxswains arrived in Georgia on Monday, January 9th for some practice time on the water. Coach Mike Lehmann and Coach Nick Springer had a specific practice schedule designed for the five days we were there: two-a-days filled with plenty of steady states, drills, and pieces. In these five days, the team would be out on the water for nine practices. The first day on the water was a gorgeous day, and the Irish got rolling. As the week progressed, the Irish rowers continued to lock in their technique and focus on connecting throughout the entirety of the stroke. 

The University of Virginia Men's Rowing Team was also on Lake Lanier for their winter training trip, and we enjoyed a few friendly scrimmages with them. All in all, it was an exceptionally productive week in Gainesville. The Irish have since returned to South Bend for the second academic semester and are in the erg gym for the remainder of the winter season. 

Special thanks to the Frese Family for hosting us for dinner on Friday! 

R'Irish!

The first of many "Feats of Greatness" was installed over break, where the three cabins competed to start a fire (in their respective wood burning stove) that could sustain a log with a diameter of two inches. One cabin thrived, one cabin struggled, one cabin was accused of fraud, and fun was had by all. Pictured above are Zachary Hamar (left) and Matt DiDonato (right), from the victorious cabin 2. 

The first of many "Feats of Greatness" was installed over break, where the three cabins competed to start a fire (in their respective wood burning stove) that could sustain a log with a diameter of two inches. One cabin thrived, one cabin struggled, one cabin was accused of fraud, and fun was had by all. Pictured above are Zachary Hamar (left) and Matt DiDonato (right), from the victorious cabin 2. 

The team tests out its new drone on Day 2 in Georgia

Bald Eagle Collegiate Invite Update

Indianapolis, IN

On November 5th, the Notre Dame Men's Rowing Team traveled to Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis to race against some fast competitors, including teams that annually place at ACRAs: Michigan, Virginia, Grand Valley State, and Purdue. Blessed with moderate temperature and smooth water, the Fighting Irish raced hard and brought medals back to South Bend. Highlights of the day included the D pair placing third in the Men's 2- event, the third varsity eight placing second in the Men's 8+ C event, and the first varsity eight placing fourth in the Mens 8+ A event ahead of Grand Valley State and Purdue. 

The team is enjoying the last few days of practice on the St. Joe River before heading indoors for erg season. Be sure to check out the gallery section of the website to see pictures of your favorite rowers!

R'Irish!

The 52nd Head of the Charles Results

Boston, MA

Building off a 2015 victory in the Collegiate 4+ event, the Irish returned to Boston as Bow #1 for the same event. Bill Bloebaum (4), Matt DiDonato (3), Seth Tautges (2), Jim Stewart (1), and Katie Egan (c) made up this year's championship-caliber boat. While the focus of Notre Dame Men's Rowing is the ACRA National Championship Regatta, the Head of the Charles Regatta is the largest and one of the most impressive Regattas in the world, and as such the ND 4+ trained tirelessly in pursuit of victory there. 

Also in competition for the Irish was the Notre Dame Men's Alumni 8+, comprised of Sam Hocking (8, ND '15), Alex Kessler (7, ND '16) , Austin Hickman (6, ND '16), Coach Nick Springer (5, ND '09) , Mike Lutkus (4, ND' 08), John Kearns (3, ND '15), Nick Kluesner (2, ND '08), Nick Catella (1, ND '06), and Coach Mike Lehmann (c, ND '10).  The Alumni 8+ is a very competitive event, and it was fun to see some of our beloved alumni dust off the oars and, once again, row for the Irish! The Alumni 8+ raced Saturday and finished 30th out of 50 teams. 

The 4+ raced on Sunday but arrived in Boston on Friday to give the crew a practice run on the historically difficult Charles course. On Sunday, the conditions were exceptionally tough: 25 mph crosswinds and headwinds with gusts of up to 35 mph. The Irish began with the lead and never looked back. Coxswain Katie Egan ran a tight course and each rower poured themselves into the 4,800 meter race, pulling away from bow #2 Virginia with each stroke. In the end, the Fighting Irish finished an impressive 5th, six-tenths of a second away from third place. 

The Irish are back in action on Saturday, November 5th in Indianapolis, IN against the likes of Virginia, Purdue, Michigan, and Grand Valley State.

R'Irish! 

Notre Dame to Build off of Head of the Rock

Rockford, IL

The Notre Dame Men's Rowing Team gathered early Sunday morning and traveled to the iconic Rock River in Rockford, IL for the Head of the Rock. Competing against the likes of Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, and MSOE, the Varsity began its day racing in the Collegiate 2- event and the Collegiate 4+ event. Three out of the four Irish pairs finished in the top five, and sophomores Braeden Benedict and Nick Dedo brought home some hardware with an impressive third place finish. Adding to the Irish medal count, the first Varsity 4+ finished second in their event,  while the other two Notre Dame fours finished in the back half of the group. The Novice entered three boats into the Collegiate Novice 8+ event, and the first novice 8+ finished fourth, just one second behind Minnesota. The Novice also entered a 4+, which finished in third place. Afternoon racing saw 5 more Irish eights in competition. The varsity entered three boats in the Collegiate 8+ event, and the 1V8 finished fourth, only a half-second off from Minnesota (2nd) and Michigan B (3rd). The Novice also entered two boats in the Open 8+ event, and they raced hard and finished strong. 

The Head of the Rock was a promising start to the 2016-2017 season; while many boats brought home hardware, all boats represented the University of Notre Dame well and gained a better understanding of the work ethic and commitment needed to row at an elite level. 

The team is exceptionally appreciative of all the parents and friends of the club that supported us in Rockford on Sunday!  All of the food, gatorade, good smells, and great cheers from the shore only added to the experience; we raced better having you all there! The next race will be the Head of the Charles where the Irish V4+ looks to repeat as Champions of the Collegiate 4+ event!

R'Irish!

Notre Dame Ends the Season at ACRA Championships

The University of Notre Dame Men's Rowing Team arrived in Gainesville, GA four days prior to the ACRA Championship. Filling days with practice, relaxation, hydration, and a little Georgian R&R, they grew anxious and prepared for the weekend's racing.  On Saturday, the 2N8 qualified for their lane in the grand final, the 1N8 competed in an exciting repechage to beat Boston College and qualify for their grand final, the 2V8 qualified for their petite final, and the 1V8 battled in tough heats and qualified for the C final.  

Sunday's finals action featured tough Irish racing.  The 2N8 raced hard and placed fourth in their grand final.  The 1N8 was in contention right up to the finish line and fought to a salutary 8th place in their grand final. The 2V8 walked back on New Hampshire in the final 20 strokes to win their petite final. In a show of dominance, the 1V8 lead their entire race and won by open water. 

Below are two reflections written by Notre Dame Oarsmen.

After a week of practicing in South Bend, the team travelled to Gainesville, Georgia for ACRA. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday consisted of morning practice followed by afternoon rest in preparation for competition over the weekend. ACRA was held at a beautiful venue. With fantastic fan support, the team enjoyed food, hospitality and time with family. Former rowers and family members made the event a fun experience. The weather was perfect and the conditions on the water were ideal. The trip to Georgia was a great chance to bond with team members and compete for national championships. Unfortunately, the team did not perform up to its own expectations. Although effort and focus were fully present, no boat was satisfied with its final performance. As the season drew to a close, Coach Mike called the team together. His words were simple, but they rang true, “In order to compete at the level that our boats are capable of, every member of the team needs to put in more work.” The team learned from the experience and spirits were high heading into a summer of erging, lifting and preparing for a successful ACRA next season. 

- Peter Witty '19

 

Being on the Notre Dame Men’s Rowing team has been one of the most difficult but rewarding things I have ever done. I have given a lot of myself to Notre Dame Rowing: countless hours at practice, weekends traveling to races, waking up early to get in extra workouts, and days in the stadium installing seats for fundraising. However, I have received so much more in return than I have given. Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to places like Boston, San Diego, and Oak Ridge for amazing regattas, but these experiences are not what I take away from rowing. I will remember the daily grind on the St. Joe River - the commitment that my teammates and I made to be our best every day. There is not much glory in rowing; even when you win a race, not many people will remember it besides the teammates you crossed the finish line with. But, when you find a group of people willing to give so much of themselves for little recognition because they see the value in working hard and having each other’s back, that is the reward. That is truly special, and I am lucky to have found that in Notre Dame Rowing.

R’Irish

- Mike Zaleski '16

 

Finally, congratulations to Seth Tautges who was named to the ACRA All-Freshman Team and to Matt DiDonato who was named to the ACRA 2nd All-American Team. Additional congratulations to the Zaleski Family who was voted this year's recipient of the Nye Award. The Nye Award is voted on by the team and recognizes a non-team member who has contributed in an exceptional way to the benefit of the team. That said, the team would like to thank all parents and friends of the team that helped make this season memorable; having you at regattas throughout the fall and spring was incredibly meaningful! 

R'Irish!  

 

 

Varsity 8 Takes 2nd at the Windermere Cup

This past weekend, the Varsity 8 traveled to Seattle to race in the Windermere Cup. The team arrived on Friday, and immediately traveled to Washington's boathouse to practice. Washington allowed the team to borrow the "Husky Clipper," a Pocock shell named after the Husky boat that famously won the 1936 Olympics.

The V8 was in the Men's College Open Event, which featured three varsity programs: the Washington 3V, Oregon State 1F, and Puget Sound's 1V. The first 1200 meters of the course had yachts lining both sides of the course, with the remainder of the race going through the Montlake Cut.

Washington's 3V slipped away from the field early, leaving the V8 to duke it out with OSU and Puget Sound. After a rough start, the V8 crossed the 500m mark in fourth place. However, they were able to establish enough rhythm to begin walking back on the other boats. A solid third 500 put the Irish in 2nd place, and they were able to hold off an OSU sprint to finish 2nd. The race tight the whole way, with all three boats staying connected the entire 2000m. The V8 finished with a time of 6:26.18, 0.57 seconds ahead of Oregon State and 1.46 seconds up on Puget Sound.

The experience of the Windermere Cup was a once in a lifetime race for all nine members of the Notre Dame boat. The unique course and fantastic venue established an atmosphere that cannot be found at other races.

Our video recapping our experience can be found at the following link: 

The Notre Dame Men's Varsity Eight traveled to Seattle, Washington to compete against Washington, Oregon State, and Puget Sound in the historical Windermere Cup.

R'Irish!

Notre Dame Sweeps Tri Meet

Last week, the team travelled to Clinton Lake, Illinois to take on Minnesota and Illinois in a tri meet. The team took two varsity 8s, two novice 8s, and a varsity double.

In a solid showing, all four of the 8s won against their respective boats. The 1V beat both Minnesota and Illinois by open water. In a come from behind victory, the second Varsity 8 won by a length against the Minnesota 2V and 3V, and finished closely behind the Illinois 1V. Both novice boats were able to beat their respective Minnesota and Illinois competition, and the varsity double placed 2nd in a race against three Minnesota doubles.

The team was happy to get a win and some shirts, and is now training hard in the final weeks before heading to ACRAs.