WSU Rowing will be traveling north to compete in the Head of the Spokane, hosted by Gonzaga, this Saturday.
“Racing is the highest form of practice,” said senior kinesiology major Sarah Powell. “So the more racing experience we can get, the better we can be in May for (Pac-12) and nationals.”
The team competed well in their last competition on September 24th. With the Women’s Rowing team B completing the five-kilometer race in 19 minutes, which was the fastest time of any women’s team at the regatta.
“We’re building up to The Head of the Lake, (all the races) are progressing towards November 6th,” Head Coach Jane LaRiviere. “We’re in training mode; we’re not really doing anything special other than training.”
Gonzaga will be the team’s main competition on Saturday, she said. With Gonzaga being a smaller conference and smaller school, she said she expects that the WSU team will do well. However, Gonzaga is a team that should not be overlooked because WSU has lost to them in previous competitions, she said.
“They’re great competition for us,” she said. “And it’s so close that it’s very convenient, and it’s really good for us too. It kind of perks up our training being able to just drive an hour and a half and have a race.”
The training regime to prepare for this competition has consisted of more base training and race pieces, said senior movement studies major Liz England. The practices also have incorporated more of strength and Olympic lifting than in previous years, she said.
Race pieces are when team members race against each other, which is the closest the team can get to racing someone else, Powell said.
“We’ve been doing a lot of race preparation as far as race-like situations and pieces between different boats on the water,” England said.
The team is in a really positive place and the team’s fitness levels are higher than they’ve been in previous years, she said. With members of the team coming into their own as far as big boat feel and rowing together, she said.
“I think we’re going to have a really positive performance this weekend against Gonzaga,” she said.
The team dynamic is interesting this year, she said. With women on the team that have a lot of college racing experience and women that have only rowed competitively before in high school. The teams mix of youth and experienced is one that has promoted bonding, she said. The experienced is teaching the youth what they need to know, and the youth are keeping the juniors and seniors honest to the amount of work ethic and enthusiasm needed in practice, she said.
“Cohesion is a big factor to how well you can compete together,” Powell said. “Especially in rowing because you’re stuck in the boat with your teammates, it’s not an individual sport by any means. It’s really the definition of team sport. So how close and how cohesive the team is impacts how you race together.”