2004 NCAA Rowing Championships
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Women's Head Coach Eleanor McElvaine
On the Varsity Eight Crew
"It's one of those cases where, if somebody gets too much on you in the middle of the race, you can sprint, but you can't get them. They came up a couple feet short. They were six seats down, so over 40 feet with 500 meters to go. They get 38 feet back and they miss making the final by that much. It hurts, but I told them I'm really proud of how hard they fought. They fought to the very last stroke and that's what Huskies do. You hate it when you come up short, but they fought to the end and they need to be proud of that. It's not really a surprise if you look the season results up to this point. That's pretty much what has happened. We don't have enough speed through the middle. We have a pretty good start, not enough speed through the middle and we got a really good sprint. We've got a young team, that's what we've got. They came closer today to Cal than they have the last few times we raced them. It was an awesome performance and our hats are off to the other teams that were faster this year.
"Now we have to get focused on coming tomorrow. We'll be in the petite final so we are racing for seventh through 12th place. We're just going to keep fighting and keep racing until the last stroke of the last day."
Varsity Eight No. 4 Seat Mary Reeves
"We started sprinting a little bit earlier than usual. We knew that we needed to be in third. We just had a hard time settling into a rhythm. We've had a lot of different lineup switches, so it's been a struggle for us to really get used to each other's rhythm and put it all together. I think we were better today than in past races. The bottom line is that we knew what we needed to do and what we were capable of doing. There were four really fast crews out there and you have to hand it to Princeton, Brown and Cal. We knew before the race that there were four crews who deserved to go to the grand final and one wasn't going to. We'd rather it wasn't us. It was one of our better races. Our sprint was far and away better than we've ever had. We're always expected to be a really fast crew. We are still a really fast crew, but there is a lot of really fast crews now, more than in the past."
Varsity Eight No. 6 Seat Yvonneke Stenken
"Not making the grand final is really disappointing. I've never been to nationals and not made the grand final. Last year we were in the grand final, but we got fourth and that was disappointing and now this year not making the grand final obviously feels worse. We raced our best, gave everything we had and came up short. I'm not disappointed in the boat, it's just this feeling of disappointment that it wasn't enough to get us to where we wanted to be. We really wanted it and we were giving everything we had. We weren't holding back at all. When we started our sprint we really started to move.
"All of our hearts would rather be in the grand final, but you have to take what you got and work with it. We have to go out there tomorrow and get open water and take it to them. No mercy. Nothing can take away the pain of not making the grand final. But we want to win something so we're going to try to go out there and have a good race. Nothing can ever diminish the two national championships that I do have. As a freshman and sophomore I came to nationals and won. Those are the most amazing experiences that I've ever had in rowing.
Women's Assistant Coach Sean Mulligan
On the Varsity Four Crew
That's the danger of going to the repechage. You get some schools that want to try to make it to the finals. They think if they can get out far enough in the first 1,000 maybe they can break somebody and sort of scare them off. I told the girls before the race that somebody is going to go to the 1,000 to try and get out. We had to stay relaxed and push through them. They are really strong and know that they can row some people down. Our girls stayed really focused and methodically took them down throughout the racecourse. They rowed a lot better today. They were a lot more confident and happy with their race. I think the start still could be a little bit better, but it's a big, powerful boat and sometimes it's hard to get them out of the blocks fast. Our main thing is base speed and getting into the body of the race and taking people down. I was happy. We were down to two boats, down open water and they come back to win by open water.
"There are a couple boats that can win the race tomorrow and we are one of them. They just have to go. Once you get to the finals you have to be ready as soon as the starter says 'go' to start unloading. They can't wait because there's not going to be any second chances in the finals. I told them my goal coming in this year was to make the final because we didn't the last two years. Once you get in there, anything can happen in the final."
Varsity Four Coxswain Eva Anderson
"Princeton and California went all out at the start of the race. They had to because they are in a position where you have to make it to the finals. They just went all out, but anyone can race for 1,000 meters. Our plan was to keep going no matter what. In the first 500 we started getting even with Princeton. About halfway through the second 500 we were through them. We were bow to stern with Cal. We have this move at the 1,000-meter mark and it helps us every time. It's 20 strokes that are really powerful. That's about when we got even with Cal. When we got even we thought we should end it right there. There was never concern. Usually there is a sense of panic when someone jumps out so far ahead, but there wasn't any panic at all from any person in the boat. We were a lot more confident, a lot more relaxed today. We had a good speed today and got into a good rhythm. Yesterday was a little too hectic, we were too amped up and too excited. That is definitely on our shoulders that the four didn't make the grand finals the last two years."
Varsity Four No. 3 Seat Signe Johannes
"It went a lot better today than it did yesterday. Our plan today was to calm down our start and calm down the whole race so it wasn't as frantic as the prelims were. It really felt a lot more strong and calm and made a huge difference. I don't think we were ever out of control. We were where we predicted we would be. We were a little bit behind at the start and then were strong through the body of the race to the end. We pulled ahead after the 1,000.
"We've only been in this boat such a short time. We've had some good races and we obviously want to have our best tomorrow. If we keep on in this vein we will have the performance that we want."