Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide to race top-20 schools this weekend

The Alabama women’s rowing team heads to Knoxville, Tenn., Friday to face the University of Tennessee, Dartmouth College and Louisville University in a regatta.

Captain and senior Jessica Autrey said she feels confident about the Crimson Tide’s potential this weekend.

“I think we’re going to do extremely well this weekend,” she said. “All of our boats have gotten a lot stronger this year. I think we’re going to push it pretty hard.”

The Tide regularly faces Tennessee, which has a more established rowing program. In the fall, Alabama finished a close race second behind the Vols by only 23 seconds.

The team is coming off winning a silver and bronze medal at Clemson during the Clemson Sprints last weekend. The team took two out of four races with Indiana and four out of five with Purdue.

“I think there’s some things we could’ve done a little bit better,” said head coach Larry Davis, “but overall, it’s one of our best performances against competition like that.”

Next weekend, the three teams they’ll be facing are all ranked in the top 20. However, Davis said he has confidence in his team to row its own race.

“We want to compare our best with their best,” he said. “And if we do that, I think we’re going to be happy with what we’ve done. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to have a lot of big victories, but we’re going to be a lot faster against those kinds of teams.”

After the regatta in Knoxville, the team will host Oklahoma and Old Dominion in Tuscaloosa. Autrey said the Tide is going to try to make this regatta a “pink meet” to further support breast cancer awareness.

“We’re trying to figure out something to wear,” she said. “We are going to wear something pink. We may tie a ribbon to the oar locks to have something pink on the boat too.”

Junior Laura Skaggs, the other team captain, said the team may chalk the Quad to raise awareness of the upcoming home race for the students.

“It seems like every year, we’ve been getting a few more people,” she said.

Davis said the program has been doing a good job of recruiting people to come to its regattas and forming a nice home crowd. For this upcoming race, he said he’s hoping for a crowd of 1,000.

“If we get good weather, we’ve had people that are just interested in seeing something different,” he said. “They’ve maybe seen us rowing in the morning when they’re driving across the bridge.”

So far this season, the weather has not been helping Alabama prepare for its races. In February, the Tide only had about 50 percent of the water workouts it might normally have. As a consequence, the team was behind where they might normally be at this point in the season.

“As far as where I’d like to be and where I think we could be, we’re probably a little behind schedule because we missed a lot of water time,” Davis said. “But we’re making progress. We seem to be catching up.”

When the team can’t get out into the water, the rowers stay inside and do various exercises, such as abdomen workouts, running and practicing on the rowing machine.

“I think the coaches have done a really great job of keeping us focused,” Autrey said. “Overall, I honestly think we’re the strongest we’ve ever been.”

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