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NCAA Women's Rowing Championships -- Day 1 Quotes
Release: 05/31/2002
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May 31, 2002

Recap

ON THE VARSITY EIGHT RACE

Jan Harville
"The number one goal is to qualify, so you want to be in the top three. The second goal is to win the heat because that gives you a little bit more confidence. To be able to do it convincingly and under control is a good way to complete the first thing you have to do to get to finals.

"You want to control the race so you try to be as aggressive as you can off the line. We had a fairly quick start and were able to control the race. We have so much respect for the competition, but we pretty much clicked right on. If you hit your rhythm and have nice length, you just control what you do. To be able to have that kind of margin early on and win by that much is certainly what you hope for, but also one inch would be okay too."

Mary Whipple, coxswain
"Our strategy in any race is to maximize our boat speed and stick to our race plan. Then we see how we measure up to everyone. Our start was just explosive. During the 20 high we were up half a length and by the time we sub-settled we were at bow-to-balls on pretty much everyone. Then by the time we settled we had a little contact with our stern to their bow decks, but we just kept going. In the second 500 we kept attacking. Toward the middle after our power-20 we slipped into a 34. With the head wind I figured that our boat speed was going well and we didn't need to take it up because we had a little open water on everyone.

"We are a very good, efficient crew at starts. We came into this regatta knowing that we are the target. Everyone wants to defeat the defending champions. Coming into this race we didn't care what did last year because this is a new year. We wanted to attack and not think. There's no time to be scared and no time to doubt when you are performing and maximizing your boat speed."

Annabel Ritchie
"The lady who holds our stern when they line us up, she was leaning out a long ways and had a lot of body weight on our boat. When we took off she just slid off into the water after us.

"We had a really aggressive start, probably one of our best that set us up for the rest of the race. We were comfortably ahead so we could control the race. We were pretty pumped at the start. We were prepared to be down off the start because we haven't raced a lot of these schools before and that probably helped us get off to even more of a start.

"The heats are important because they set the tone for the rest of the week. Some of the other schools might only be trying to get into the top three to conserve energy for the semis. At Washington we like to set the tone and come across the line first.

"We were able to save a little bit of our reserves for tomorrow's semis which is the next big step. It's always a little more comfortable when you are sitting a couple lengths ahead."

Yvonneke Stenken
"The start of the race is so intense, that I didn't even notice the lady falling into the water.

"The race went very well. We didn't have to sprint. We just found that we went out to our normal race plan and the rate naturally came down a beat or two. We had good acceleration and it wasn't like the boat speed was falling down or anything, it was just that the rhythm was nice and light. I know that's not going to be the case in the finals.

"I wasn't surprise at the early lead because we have a really strong start. We have a really powerful crew and powerful crews get off the start first if they are clean and quick. The whole purpose of the start is to get the boat speed going and stronger crews can do that quicker if they are clean.

"In a heat, some people are just trying to qualify. The way we race is to go out to win, push yourself and do what you do. Some people just want to qualify and get third.

"This gives us a lot of confidence. Every time we go out on a racecourse, no matter where it is, we go out to win. That's our mission. We expect it from ourselves, knowing that we can do this as opposed to hoping we can do this.

"It feels good to know that we performed really well today, especially after a great week of training. We've always been a real bonded boat, but this is the most important time of year to really come together. Having this race go so well just gives us even more confidence that we are just that much closer to the finals.

"We've been biting at the bit just to race. Now that we've actually been able to race, the waiting is over and we're into the swing of things."

Anna Mickelson
"We're looking straight ahead and this girls falls into the water. Then she pops up out of the water. I've never seen that before.

"Especially here, I thought everyone would just go out and sell their souls at the start and see what happens. I was surprised when we were up a length in the first 500. We just got really long and relaxed. The rest of them were really fighting for second through sixth, but the further we got ahead the more relaxed we got.

"It's always good to get the first one out of the way. It's like the first race of the season, you don't know what to expect because you've never raced each other."

ON THE SECOND VARSITY EIGHT RACE

Jan Harville
"It was pretty much a water fight out there. Coming during a cross-wind with whitecaps, is tough conditions to row in. You're fighting the crews that you are racing against and then you fight the water too, so you really have two battles going on. They got off the water and they were feeling pretty tired. They did what they needed to do today. Ohio State crept up and got a little bit of a lead on us. We put the pedal down on the sprint and pulled away from Ohio State, but Yale went with us. We outlasted them to the line.

"You want to win the heat for two reasons. One, so you don't have to go into the rep and go directly into the final. The second reason is you want to establish some confidence in that last few-stroke battle in the last 500 meters. You want to test yourself out a little bit.

"The expectations are kind of difficult when there is not much East-West overlap. We know the quality of all of the crews, but certainly with the winners of each region plus the contenders are going to create some great quality racing."

Anne Hessburg, coxswain
"We were really powerful off the start. It wasn't pretty because of the wind. Within the first 20, 30 strokes we were up at least four seats on all crews. Coming into the first 500 we were about five seats up on Ohio, four seats up on Yale and we had almost a length on Michigan. Those are our big contenders. Coming into the 1,000 we had half a length up on Ohio and Yale and open water on Michigan at that point. At about 1,250 meters, Ohio State really made their move and they ended up actually taking a seat on us. With about 650 to go, we decided that we needed to go early and so we took our sprint. We pulled up even with Ohio and then walked on through. Normally we take our sprint in the last 500 meters. We went about 100 meters early this time. Ohio State didn't take their sprint with us, but Yale did. They moved at the end, so we only ended up winning by two seats.

"The wind was definitely something to battle. It was rough out there, especially after the first 500.

"You really can't make up a race plan and stick to it throughout the entire race especially in a competition like this because it changes second-by-second. Things change so quickly that you have to read it moment-by-moment out there.

"Definitely we went out there with our minds set on taking first. I think it is an advantage to go straight to finals and skip the reps, but not a great advantage. There is a slight advantage not having to race another day."

Erin Becht
"The strategy was just to do whatever we could to win so we can have the day off tomorrow and taper more. We hope to harness all of this energy, calm down and row our race so that hopefully we come across the line first on Sunday.

"I have complete confidence in our coxswain Annie (Hessburg). We counter move every single time somebody else makes a move on us. We started our sprint early because we were down a seat to Ohio State and we were only a seat or two up on Yale. We knew that if we were going to pull it out we had to go first. We have a really strong sprint to do that.

"There was a lot of nervous energy out there in warm-ups. A lot of us have never been to a competition like this and didn't know what to expect. This was a good eye-opener for everybody and we're ready now for the final."

Shannon Oates
"I don't think you can expect anything, you just have to go in ready to fight. We went in thinking that Michigan was our competition. As soon as we took our start, I was surprised and confident. I like to over estimate other crews because you go out there fighting with your gloves rather than falling behind and trying to catch up.

"Ohio State definitely had a nice settle. When we took our settle strokes at about a 35, we were probably about a length up on them and you could feel them slowly reeling us back in. I wouldn't say we sagged, or gave it to them, but they just fought a little bit harder for it. We went sooner than usual. Everyone knows our third 500 is the weakest part of our race. You could feel that everyone was going after our third 500. We knew that going in and knew that there was going to be a fight there. Annie (Hessburg) called for a power 10 in the middle of nowhere and we just all sat up and went. That's definitely when we got our rhythm and confidence back together. We kind of felt the Washington pride thing and decided that it's time to go.

"One of the good things about this group is that even though it's never been pretty, but we fight and fight even when the chips are down.

"This is the first time that I've rowed at a national championship and the first time that the best of the best see each other. So, there is a lot hanging on. Once we got on the water it was just down to this race. You've got to just give it to this race, no matter how many races you have to go. That's one of the great things about Washington is that we're racers. We're made to race every day, twice a day until we can't race any more."

ON THE VARSITY FOUR RACE

Assistant Coach Erin O'Connell
"The plan was to have the best piece that we could have. We just assume everybody out there was really fast. The ultimate goal would be to not have to race tomorrow, but it's kind of an inexperienced crew and it will be good to have another race and get some more kinks out.

"It was pretty hard to stay in the lanes. They were in the buoys for some of the race when the big gusts came.

"They had a great first 1,000, they were in the fight and went out very aggressively. We have some stuff to fix in the last 500. If we can get their last 500 going, then we'll see what happens on the next race day."

Maili Barber, coxswain
"We had an aggressive start and we were in there for the first 500. The gusts of wind were so bad that Stanford started in lane 3 and ended up in lane 2. Everyone pushed over a lane. It's not fun to row in the buoys. After the first 500, that's when Harvard took off. They were pretty much ahead of us the whole way. We were fighting with Cal who earlier beat us by seven seconds. We were with them the whole way. It was just a really tough one with an really unpredictable wind. Whenever you have to go on the tiller, you are slowing the boat down. At this point in our race I had it all the way to starboard the whole way almost.

"We had a great start so we know what we have to do now. In the semifinals, the top two go to the finals, so that's where we need to be. Last year, my four lost a round in our heat and came back in the finals and took the whole thing. These girls are experienced and I think we'll do great."

Nicole Mazikowski
"The wind was blowing us everywhere. We were hitting the buoys every stroke basically and I got caught in them a couple times. It was just unbelievable with wind going everywhere and water splashing everywhere. All of us were soaked from it. You could feel the gusts blowing at you. You are trying to go so hard and so fast, but it's like something is stopping you and you have no control over it. I don't think we have ever raced in anything like this.

"We got out of there quick, but we were going in and out of our rhythm. The start was wonderful be we just couldn't keep it going.

"We focused a lot on Cal and were right with them. We kept deck-to-deck with them."

Washington Crew
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