Over the past two weekends, we’ve started our spring season off! Below is an update on the fun in case you missed it and a preview of what else is to come this spring.
On February 17, we had the good fortune of enjoying the 6th Annual State of the VRA Dinner in Washington D.C. Over 100 people from near and as far as San Francisco braved the snow and ice to celebrate Virginia Rowing. Thank you to everyone for joining us and making the event a success; special thanks to Samantha Needham ’17 and Ed Crocker ’13 for setting everything up!
The dinner was hosted at the historic Potomac Boat Club, and every generation of Virginia Rowing was represented–from the founders to current team members. There was plenty of BBQ, drinks, and stories to go around. Frank provided a much- anticipated address on the state of the team, including a recap of the fall and his outlook on the season ahead. Following the dinner, a lively group of alumni continued the festivities at a bar in Georgetown.
This past weekend, our friends from Potomac joined us here on the Rivanna for a spirited first scrimmage of the season. PBC’s Men’s Sweep Program brought down two eights, which include several recent alumni from UVA. They are preparing to make the trip to Henley Royal Regatta later this year.
We fielded five semi-stacked eights ourselves, making seven collectively on the water. We lined up in two flights for six rate-capped 2ks, the first side-by-side racing pieces of the season. In the first flight, our top two eights and frosh eight raced with PBC’s eights. Our 3V and 2F dueled against each other in the second flight.
Our 1V, disguised as the enemy, completely decked out in PBC gear, took 5 of the 6 pieces; PBC’s over-stroking the rate strategy only paid off once. The line-up was similar to the crew that raced and medaled in the fall although not quite at 100% as the wheels are getting back going this early in the season. They had a great time having the masters breathing down their necks and pushing them a bit in friendly competition.
The 2V, dressed in good ole orange and blue, had mixed results and in good moments hung just behind PBC’s top eight and in off moments battled with PBC’s second 8 and our frosh. The 1F enjoyed its first chance at sprint racing against competitors from outside our program in a line-up with over half walking on to the team and the sport just over a semester ago. They battled with the inconsistency that occurs from not having varsity members mixed into the boat, but went stroke-for-stroke with PBC’s second eight and had some great moments throughout the day’s pieces.
Last but not least, our 3V and 2F went head to head with each other in a second flight. This is due to the fact that there is simply not enough space to have seven eights come down the course at once. Both boats show a lot of promise and have some real gems mixed in, who we are excited to have develop.
The scrimmage was followed by socializing and breakfast sandwiches from Charlottesville’s legendary Bodo’s Bagels. Potomac, and their UVA alumni specifically, surprised the team with a new award in honor of our recently lost teammate Nick Marshall. The Row for Each Other award will be given at the discretion of the fourth years in the spirit of inspiration and contributions in teamwork. We truly appreciate the genuine thoughtfulness, show of support, and of course PBC’s friendship. We’re hoping to have them down to duel again later in the season!
Coming up on the docket, we are on a taper week preparing to kick off spring break next week with a 2k on this coming Saturday (March 3). The team is more than ready, we’re just fine-tuning the mental preparations. Following the week of training camp here in C’Ville we will be kicking off three back-to-back weekends of scrimmaging on the Rivanna, with friendly competition coming in from Georgetown, Bucknell and USNA, and Hobart. As always, we’d love to have you join us—scrimmages, and the food afterwards, is always a great reason for you to stop by the boathouse!
By the end of March, we’ll be on the road racing and are looking forward to a great spring. Of course would love to see family, friends, and alumni at all of the regattas.