NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Friday, May 28, 2004
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Women's Head Coach Eleanor McElvaine
On the Varsity Eight Crew
"They are using the environment of the championships to raise their game and play up at a higher level which is certainly what you hope and pray for as a coach. Coming down here, we are able to line up against some crews other than just Cal and Washington State who we get over and over again. You saw today that glimmer of confidence and that is a huge tool for these guys. Now that they are feeling good about what they have. They know that it's really, really tough, but they also know that they are in it. That's really the first time they have felt like that since San Diego.
The thing we were finding out today was the comparison from one region to the next. We haven't raced anybody from the Central Region. We've never raced anybody from the East Coast. You can finally see how we all compare next to each other. You can see out there that some people are rowing better than they ever have before. I think we are one of those. You also see some people cracking and not rowing very well. The semifinals will be really tough and that's the next step we are focusing on."
Varsity Eight Coxswain Megan Mach
"We had one of the best starts we've ever had and got out in front of all of the boats. I got to call 'Up on all boats' for one of the first times all season. It was very satisfying. We had a good first and second 500. In the third 500 we shortened up a little bit, but we also had the mindset that we have to race for the top three and we weren't quite racing for first. I'm really excited to see what we have tomorrow because we sprinted today, but it was sort of a half sprint.
"Tennessee was right next to us. They were walking and probably took four seats coming right into the last 500. Had they got any closer we probably would have pushed it a little bit harder, but we were that close to the line and didn't want to pull any harder than we had to."
Varsity Eight No. 5 Seat Allison DePalma
"I feel so good right now. We were nervous going into this race because we haven't beaten Cal this year. This was a great confidence booster, to be the first boat out there and be able to see everyone and prove that we deserve our spot here. We worked hard all year and now we know that we deserve to be here. You never know what crews are going to bring. They don't know what we're going to bring and we don't know what they're going to bring. For all we knew, Ohio State was going to be a half or full boat length up on us after the start. But we took them up off the start. We did exactly what we needed to do and we didn't have to sprint the whole way. We got it done and it's just amazing. This was our best race yet."
Women's Assistant Coach Erica Schwab
On the Junior Varsity Eight Crew
"Win the heat, that was our goal. If you have the opportunity to not row in the rep, you do that. We weren't sure that we were going to be able to do that. They're fired up. They have a little something extra for Dana (Ryan), the coxswain that didn't get to come. They have something to fight for. Now they feel great. It's good to be the underdog sometimes. There are three kids in our boat who had never beaten Cal. The mental advantage you get from getting out ahead is big.
"This is a different boat than we had at Pac-10s. It took us a little while to put together this lineup. Sometimes the stuff that looks good on paper doesn't always work in the boat. These last changes were clearly, really effective. We're going for the medals now."
Junior Varsity Eight Coxswain Katie Peyer
"We had a pretty strong start, but WSU and Princeton were right next to us and they also were really good. We managed to take a seat up on them right from the start and then slowly throughout the race we were able to take seat-after-seat on Princeton. It felt so right, like we were flying right past them. Cal came up and moved one seat on the last 500 and we were determined to fight them off at the end. We knew that we had to get up and away from everyone else in order to stay focused and stay in the race. As long as we had seats at the beginning we knew we could hold people off and finish the race.
"It's amazing. I'm so happy that we don't have to race tomorrow. We have the confidence to come in to the final knowing that we are able to beat all those people again."
Junior Varsity Eight Bow Olivia Morrow
"We all knew that it was going to be a tough heat and we really respect our opponents. We went into this with a lot of relaxation and I think that's the key to racing. It's not who wants it more at this point, it not who's the most fit or who can row the best because we are all pretty equal out here. It's who can really keep themselves together in the race. We just went into this being totally relaxed. We were able to be really calm and have fun with it. We executed really well today. We were really ready to go today. It wasn't really a surprise to me. We all really needed to do this and wanted it. It's nice to be allowed the day off and relax and take it easy. We are all fit enough to race one 2K a day, so I don't think it will make that huge of a difference. We made a lot of changes this year in the JV boat and there are only two of us who have us that have been in it consistently every race."
Women's Assistant Coach Sean Mulligan
On the Varsity Four Crew
"I thought they had a pretty good race. They said that they were a little bit high at the start. With a crew like this they really need to just be a little bit lower with the rate and just get really long to get into their base rhythm. Ohio State was able to do that throughout the piece. The Ohio State boat is really powerful. Probably our two boats are the most powerful, in terms of raw power, in the fours. Obviously Virginia is really good too.
"Now we just have to do the rep stuff tomorrow. The cool thing about three-day regattas is that you have the heats. You see where everybody is at and then you can start making changes. It's like halftime at a basketball game where you make little changes and come back out. I don't think any of the fours are dominant. It's probably going to be three or four boats across straight down in the final. It's just a matter of whoever executes the best. We'll just fine tune and get them to be a little more relaxed off the start so that they can get long and get into their base rhythm. In the final, whoever has the best base rhythm between the top four crews or so, that's who is going to win. If they can relax and do that, that's the key.
Varsity Four Coxswain Eva Anderson
"We didn't race to our full potential, but we're really excited for what's coming up. I think we can get a better rhythm, more power and a better base speed. We can have a stronger start too, faster and quicker. We were even with Ohio State at the start and Brown had a seat up on us. By the first 500 Ohio State was ahead. We drew even with Brown by the 500 and pulled away from them in the second 500. We went all out the entire time to hold on to them. We made them work for it."