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.
- 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!