SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Still two months from their first race of the season the Santa Clara women's rowing team is hard at work improving their times on the water. With so much still to be decided on a very young team including sole senior and captain Katie Caudle '12 who is setting a superb example of leadership, Bronco head coach John Wojtkiewicz likes the consistent improvement he has seen from his rowers so far.
"After almost four months of consistent training, our very young team is starting to find their rhythm and groove on the water," said Wojtkiewicz. "With almost 90 percent freshmen and sophomores, we are showing a remarkable level of athletic maturity that is easily translating to increased speed on the water. While lineups in the Varsity 8, Second Varsity 8 and Varsity four are not yet decided, the boats are running along very smoothly, hinting at even more speed to come as lineups are set and crews gel. The next two months of training will be critical to our performance in the spring."
While six months of training with no competition can be grueling, it is a very important phase in preparing for the first race on Mar. 31 at the San Diego Crew Classic.
"This phase of our training is what we call the "pre-competition phase" and our focus is on speed, speed and more speed," continued Wojtkiewicz. "All that matters is consistently pushing our pacing split down closer and closer to where it needs to be in order to achieve our goals; and we're doing it every day."
The team has set specific goals that they are all working towards achieving together. Last season they were timed at 7:10 in the 2K for the Varsity 8 and finished sixth at the WCC Championships, both marks they hope to beat this year.
Even if they don't reach their goals they know this season is great experience for the young team and Santa Clara rowing has a bright future.
"Our ambitions for the spring are to improve over last year in regards to time and placement at the WCC Championships," added Wojtkiewicz. "Regardless of what we achieve this year, next year will be even better with full classes of sophomores and juniors and an excellent freshmen class already in the pipeline."
Last year the pair of Deanna Clark '11 and Jill Walker '11 won gold at the 2011 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships. The team's lightweight four won silver at the same championships. That boat included Blair Mitchell '14, Laurel Schuster '11, Vanessa Delgado '11, Adrienne Lohe '13 and coxswain Caitlin Cutting '11.
In addition to rowing at the San Diego Crew Classic the Broncos schedule includes LMU on Apr. 21 and the WIRA Championships in Lake Natoma, Calif. on Apr. 28 and 29. The season wraps-up with the WCC Championships, also held at Lake Natoma, on May 12 and 13.