The wind chill was below freezing, and they hadn’t competed in the water since November, but the Longhorns still put on an impressive performance Saturday at Lady Bird Lake.
Texas claimed the top five spots and won its second consecutive Fighting Nutria title, beating Texas Crew 14-10. The team equaled its margin of victory from last year, when it defeated Texas Crew 13-9.
This was Texas’ first regatta since the Head of the Hooch in November. After a tremendous fall, the Longhorns picked up right where they left off.
“This was a good, hard race and a great way for the coaches and I to evaluate the team’s strengths,” said head coach Carie Graves. “It’s not easy to win this. We did win last year, but we hadn’t won it for three years before that.”
The first varsity boat earned the top spot with a time of 28 minutes, 56.9 seconds, and the top novice boats and other two varsity boats wiped away the competition as well.
“We have much more depth this year that we haven’t had in the past and that’s really what the team is built around,” Graves said.
That depth will need to shine down the stretch. Texas is trying to become one of the 16 teams selected to the 2011 NCAA Championships for the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2003 and 2004.
“It’s not just one boat that goes to the NCAAs [Championships],” Graves said. “It’s a team. So even if you’re the fastest varsity in the country, and the other boats are slow, you’re not gonna’ go.”
Even with its strong start, Texas is still looking to improve.
“What every team needs to improve on is to maintain their focus,” Graves said. “It’s an attention issue. That’s the most important thing if you have a team that can be fast.”