Rowers launch into spring season with a local rivalry


Zachary Strain

The Texas women's rowing teams kicks off its season in the Fighting Nutria, an 8,100-meter exhibition held annually in Austin.

Sam Jackson

This weekend kicks off Texas Rowing’s official launch into the spring season. After a short rest during winter break, the rowers returned to Austin a week early for training, focusing their efforts on endurance and strength.

This year, the varsity team invited the novices to join them in their early preparation for the spring season, where team collaboration could begin to develop. This week in particular marks the first time the women have been allowed back on the water to get back to their roots in preparation for the weekends’ opener.

The Fighting Nutria is an 8,100-meter race held annually in Austin. Along with both women’s crews, local Austin clubs and crews will be competing in the regatta.

The Fighting Nutria holds much tradition, highlighting which crew worked the hardest over the winter break. The squad that wins the most points gains bragging rights for the winning crew’s boathouse.

Wednesday’s practice gives hope for a bright season and exciting race results for the weekend. While the varsity won’t hit the water until the day of the race, the novice rowers are hard at work refining form and fortitude.

“We have great power in the boat,” novice captain Rachel Smith said.

A first-year rower from Forney, Smith strives for a traveling position this spring. After competing in Chattanooga, she holds great expectations for this season and for her team.

“This race is really going to test our endurance, but we’re excited to back on the water,” Smith said.