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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame rowing places fourth at ACC Championship

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The Irish rowing team participates at the Dale England Cup in Bloomington, Indiana, on April 30, 2023.

The Irish rowing team participates at the Dale England Cup in Bloomington, Indiana, on April 30, 2023.

Notre Dame rowing’s busy spring regatta schedule included trips to Tennessee, San Diego, Boston, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Bloomington, Indiana. On Lake Wheeler in Raleigh, North Carolina May 12 and 13, the Irish competed in the ACC Rowing Championship.

“[The ACC championship] is what we shoot for at the end of the season. A high performance there gets you a NCAA bid so I think about that part, we’re excited,” head coach Martin Stone said. “I think overall the season has been pretty positive.”

After qualifying boats for all five grand finals, the rowing team finished fourth in Raleigh. Virginia took home first place, with Syracuse and Duke also finishing on the podium. Notre Dame accumulated 62 points, 11 clear of fifth-place Miami.

Also on May 13, the ACC named sophomores Natalie Hoefer and Maggie Newell to the conference’s first and second teams, respectively.

Considering the pandemic, Stone said he was happy that seniors got to have an ordinary season this spring.

“I was reflecting that our seniors, they had a normal fall of 2019 and now they’re finally having a normal spring as they wrap up their season here in ’23,” Stone said. “Those semesters in between were disrupted.”

Stone said he admired the team’s tenacity and willingness to stick with their process and bring great effort every day.

“I’m happy for the seniors. At least they’re getting what would be like a normal rowing experience where we traveled, where we raced and all that which went along with it,” Stone said. “[I have] a sense of relief that they had that chance to experience it. They've weathered a lot while they’ve been here.”

With the ACC championship coming at the heels of final exams, Stone said he cut down the team’s practice load by about 70 percent.

“What you do in rowing to help perform well at a high level is the same thing that will help you perform well on your exams,” Stone said. “You get plenty of sleep, you’re eating well [and] you’re hydrating well. You’re just focusing on the process and moving through it.”

While competing at any regatta, Stone said there’s nothing really to do about the speed of other universities.

“It’s about focusing on ourselves and know[ing] that if we race really well, then we’re going to have a great performance,” Stone said. “We’re not playing defense against any … of those schools or offence to disrupt what they’re doing. We can only make our boats go as fast as we possibly can.”

Stone said the beauty of the Notre Dame rowing team is that it gathers student-athletes of various backgrounds. People who may have never crossed paths four years ago are now lifelong friends.

“[Your friends] randomly from different routes came to the University and came onto your sports team, and now, you would have never guessed, your great friends,” Stone said. “You may have been great rivals in high school, and now you’re here, and you’re tremendous friends, and they are going to be people that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.”

The direction of the senior class after graduation is divergent, Stone said. Some seniors are taking a fifth year of COVID-19 eligibility to row at Notre Dame or at other universities. Meanwhile, others will go on to graduate school or out into the professional world. The Irish have 21 seniors and a graduate student on their roster.

“We have a pretty smart group,” Stone said.

Participation in the sport after college also varies. Two Notre Dame graduates are now USRowing officials, Stone added.

There’s ways to get back and people kind of get back into it,” Stone said. “Maybe right out of school, you’re not really interested, but then down the road, you kind of get that bug again, find a local club and row.”