The team traveled to Oak Ridge, Tennessee this past weekend to compete in the SIRA Championships. Our entries consisted of a Varsity 8+, Varsity 4+, Novice 8+, and Novice 4+.
After a two-hour fog delay Saturday morning, the Novice 4+ started things off by placing 2nd in their heat behind Central Florida. They finished with a time of 7:33.8 to advance to the semifinals. In their race that afternoon, the novice 4 established a solid rhythm and shaved 16 seconds off their heat time. They finished with a time of 7:17 to come in 2nd and advance to the grand final.
The Novice 8+ took to the water for their heat with high expectations. From start to finish, the novice 8 were on the heels of Virginia, eventually coming in second by 0.6 seconds with a time of 6:20.4. In their semifinal, the novice 8 stayed with Temple and UNC before settling for third to advance to the grand final. They were able to improve their time from earlier that morning by 3.4 seconds, posting a 6:17.0.
The Varsity 4+ started their weekend off by rowing cleanly and with great timing to place 1st their heat. They held off the next closest boat, Florida State, by a comfortable 7.4 seconds, posting a time of 7:05.5. The varsity 4 replicated this strong performance in their Saturday afternoon semifinal. After battling much of the way with Rollins, the varsity 4 produced another 1st place finish with an improved time of 7:00.4.
Finishing off our Saturday morning and afternoon was the Varsity 8+. In their heat, the varsity 8 stayed with Delaware for the majority of the race, finishing with a time of 6:03.3 to come in 2nd place and advance to the semifinals. In their late afternoon semifinal, the varsity 8 ran into some stiff competition, coming in 5th place after posting a time of 6:14.1 and advancing to the B final.
After a night of rest, the team returned on Sunday morning to continue a solid weekend of rowing. There was once again a two-hour fog delay, with the races eventually starting with heavy fog still on the water.
The varsity 4 was the first of three Notre Dame boats to compete in their respective grand final. In a race that saw 1st through 5th decided by less than 5 seconds, the varsity 4 and Temple were involved in a photo finish for 2nd and 3rd. After review, it was determined varsity 4 fell to Temple by 0.016 seconds, posting a time of 6:36.3. Although this extremely close finish did not end up favoring the varsity 4, they had a great weekend of racing and consistently improved in each race.
The Novice 8 was next to compete in their grand final. They raced tight with Purdue the entire race, both boats vying for the 3rd place spot behind Virginia and Temple. The novice 8 edged out Purdue by 0.3 seconds to take 3rd with an improved time of 6:05.7. Although competing for the gold, the novice 8 was happy to take the bronze and beat Purdue after falling to them last weekend at Lubber’s Cup.
The novice 4 was next to take the water. After establishing a solid ratio, the novice 4 got into a duel with Emory for 3rd place. They finished them off in the final 500 meters to take home the bronze with a time of 7:00.3. Their time was 17 seconds faster than their best time from the previous day. The novice 4 made great strides with each race they competed in, and came together as a boat whose line up was only days old.
Our final race of the weekend was the varsity 8 in the B final. With calm conditions, their race saw five boats go under 6 minutes. The varsity 8 came in 5th finishing with a 5:57.4, less than two seconds off Marietta and Cincinnati. Although expectations were higher, it was great to see the varsity 8 go sub 6 minutes with a line up that was missing 2 of its usual members.
Our weekend at SIRAs saw a great improvement from Lubber’s Cup, with three boats competing in the grand finals and all three making the podium. We hope to carry this momentum throughout this week’s practices as we prepare for MACRAs this upcoming weekend.