Rowing Spring Recap

May 16, 2007


The University of Kansas Rowing team’s 2007 spring season will be remembered for consistent improvement despite extreme weather conditions. Kansas placed two spots higher than last year’s finish at the South-Central Regionals. The team also earned second place at the Big 12 Invitational, falling by a slight margin to Texas.

The 2007 season began in Austin, Texas as the team held its winter conditioning in the Texas state capital during January. The practice would prove to be some of the only outdoor exposure the team would receive because of the cold winter that froze the Kansas River until late February.

Kansas opened the season with three-straight home regattas. The first regatta was a dual with Texas and SMU on March 24. Kansas took second place in every race, as they defeated SMU but fell to Big 12 southern rival, Texas. At the windy regatta, the team’s first varsity eight boat finished in a time of 7:34.5, 10 seconds behind the Longhorns’ winning performance. The second varsity eight boat completed the 2000-meter course in 7:51.4. The team’s varsity four boat finished in 8:55.1.

The following weekend Kansas was scheduled to face Tulsa and Drake on March 31, but high winds caused a fast current and accumulated rain resulted in some flooding.

On Saturday, April 7, Kansas faced in-state rival Kansas State. In the fall, Kansas rowed past KSU 14-11 and the Jayhawks duplicated that performance with a 12-10 victory, giving KU a 2006-07 season sweep. The Kansas rowing team’s First Varsity Eight boat came from behind to defeat Kansas State by inches in the final race to lift the Jayhawks to the 2007 Kansas Cup. With the 12-10 victory over their Sunflower State rivals, the Jayhawks competed in their last home race of the season and honored nine seniors in their final Kansas River regatta.

A week later, Kansas left its home course to face competition on the East coast in Camden, N.J. at the Knecht Cup. The regatta was originally scheduled to be a two-day event, but weather forced the event to be squeezed into one day. Kansas took first place in the Women’s Freshman/Novice Eight Grand Final with a time of 7:16.0. Kansas also won the Varsity Quad with a time of 7:44.4. In the Varsity Four and the First and Second Varsity Eight races, KU grabbed fourth place against stiff competition.

Following the success in New Jersey, Kansas tried to bring that success to No. 8 Minnesota the following weekend. Instead, Kansas struggled against the national-powerhouse and failed to record a victory against the Golden Gophers.

“Today, our weaknesses were exposed,” Kansas head coach Rob Catloth said following the defeat. “It was a learning experience. After facing a team like Minnesota, we see what our little flaws are and I think we will be able to correct those in time for the Big 12’s next weekend.”

Kansas regained its stroke in time for the Big 12 Invitational in Kansas City. Kansas placed second at the 2007 Big 12 Invitational with 46 points, falling to Texas by only nine. Kansas finished in a tie for second place last year with K-State, but were able to defeat the Wildcats by four points. KU’s First Varsity Four victory and a narrow defeat in the First Varsity Eight race headlined the successful day in Kansas City.

Two weeks later, Kansas concluded its 2007 season in Oak Ridge, Tenn. at the South-Central Regionals. Of the 23 team field, Kansas placed 16th with 152 points, three places in front of Kansas State and only six points behind Texas. The Novice Eight boat finished in 8th place, Kansas’ highest placement. The 16th place finish was an improvement over 2006’s performance and showed that Kansas is continuing to improve its rowing program.

“Across the board, I thought we raced really well,” said head coach Rob Catloth after the completion of the South-Central Regional. “We competed well against the top teams in the country and held our own against our level of competition, especially against the team’s in our Big 12 region. The Novice Eight’s finish is exciting and should be a great place to build for next year.”

In the coming years, Kansas will look to build behind its strong Novice team and a new boathouse scheduled to be completed soon.