Team shows toughness in close races

Nick Cremona

Earlier in the year, the Longhorns were dominating their opponents, winning races by an average of nearly 10 seconds. This weekend’s Virginia Invitational showed the team’s grit as it stepped up to win some photo-finish races, as well.

In the first session Friday evening, the Longhorns took three of four races from 17th-ranked UCLA and also won their race against No. 13 Clemson. The first varsity eight boat squeaked past the Bruins, winning by just two seconds in 7 minutes, 16.7 seconds, while the first varsity four beat out the Bruins by 0.6 seconds, finishing in 8 minutes, 52.9 seconds.

Saturday’s multiple races against Clemson were just as close. The first varsity eight continued its dominant spring record, edging out the Tigers by 2.1 seconds, while the second varsity eight boat redeemed its Friday’s loss to UCLA with a two-second win.

Texas was overmatched Sunday as it took on No. 8 Michigan State. In all but one of the races, the difference in time was within five seconds, but the Longhorns only managed to win in the second varsity four race in 7 minutes, 40.1 seconds.

It was especially frustrating for Texas head coach Carie Graves. Because the races themselves take place in the water, far removed from coaches, there are very few adjustments they can make after the starting gun.

“You can’t do anything. You have no control,” Graves said. “It’s like having a kid. You hope you’ve done what you’ve had to do, you hope you can get it right, and you hope they get it because you’re just standing there. You don’t know how they did until they come back to the dock, and they tell me how it felt.”

The Virginia Invitational was the last regular season regatta of the spring as the Longhorns gear up for the Big 12 and Conference USA Championships.

“[Now we] are looking for focus and better rowing,” Graves said. “We’re looking for a lot of things technically.”