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KSU rowing gains speed at Texas

By The Mercury

AUSTIN, Texas — The Kansas State rowing team hit the water for three days of action last weekend at the Longhorn Invitational with some big improvements made across the board for the Wildcats.

“We wanted to build off of what we did at the OU Invitational last week, changing lineups in 1st and 2nd Varsity 8s,” K-State head coach Patrick Sweeney said. “The changes we made from the start of the weekend through to Sunday gained experience for the whole team and both Varsity 8s improved their times by roughly 10 seconds.”

The Wildcats opened the Longhorn Invitational Friday by going head-to-head with the hosting Texas Longhorns and went on to face San Diego on Saturday morning. K-State then made some lineup changes for the Saturday afternoon session to take on two Texas crews and three from SMU.

Sweeney said he was pleased with the improvements made with those changes and again on Sunday against Central Florida.

“Seeing Texas on the first race is always difficult, so our boats went out to chalk up some solid performances without sprinting in Friday evening’s races,” he said. “They rowed technically well, which was what we asked them to do. Although we came close to San Diego on Saturday morning, our results made it evident that our crews were lacking the sharpness of programs that can be on the water year-round.

“What was really good to see, and the highlight of the weekend, was that when we changed lineups again for Saturday evening, our boats were able to come closer to the race pace required to be competitive against the more experienced crews. And then by Sunday morning, keeping the lineups the same, the 1st Varsity 8 and 2nd Varsity 8 showed marked improvement, hanging with their competition much closer. Not to mention the fact that our novices did well, too.”

K-State’s 1st Novice 8 crew came away from Lady Bird Lake with three wins and only one loss for the Wildcats, highlighting the weekend’s competition. The 1N8 tallied two wins against host Texas and one over Central Florida with the lone loss coming to Texas.

K-State’s 1st Varsity 4 crew came away from the Longhorn Invitational with a 2-2 record, as the Wildcats took wins over San Diego and SMU. The Wildcats defeated SMU in all three head-to-head races with the Mustangs and Wildcats battling with 1V4, 2V8 and 1V8 crews.

Both of K-State’s Varsity 8 crews posted one win and three losses with each crossing the finish line before SMU. The Wildcats had a tight race with UCF in the 1V8 race as K-State was behind by just 1.6 seconds and finished in 7:16.7, the boat’s fastest time of the weekend on Sunday.

Overall, K-State went 7-13 in all races combined going up against some of the top crews in the nation.

The Wildcats will head to the West Coast for the San Diego Crew Classic for two days of rowing beginning March 31. The San Diego Crew Classic is traditionally a strong regatta with top crews from across the country coming to compete. Last season at the Crew Classic, K-State saw its 1st Varsity 8 crew qualify for the Grand Final of the SeaWorld Cal Cup, the top collegiate race at the event. The Wildcats went on to finish third in that final, finishing just behind Tulsa.

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