After a successful meet on the East coast, the Longhorns didn’t have to travel quite as far to compete this weekend. The fourth-ranked Texas rowing team hosted the 2019 Longhorn Invite at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park, a collection of the top teams in the country such as Virginia, USC, Iowa, Indiana, Oregon State and Oklahoma.
Head coach Dave O’Neill discussed the importance of facing so many quality opponents.
"This is certainly a big weekend for our program as we're putting on the event at Lake Walter E. Long for the third year,” O'Neill said. "We have eight terrific programs coming from across the country. Seven of the teams are currently ranked in the top 20, so the competition is going to be fierce.”
O’Neill also noted this race carried additional importance for the hosting Longhorns. Due to this meet being the team’s only home race, it allowed almost all of the rowers a chance to go through the experience of competition — an opportunity that most of the other meets did not present.
Originally scheduled to take place Saturday, the meet was moved to start Friday evening due to troublesome winds predicted to pass through. However, it did not affect the Longhorns, who were able to qualify all of their boats to the Grand Finals.
After a quick turnaround early Saturday morning, the Longhorns were able to secure three wins and clinched the title. O’Neill was pleased with the outcomes of the weekend and the progress made in the race.
"Our team had a good day, and this was certainly a step in the right direction as our first eight had two really solid races," said O'Neill. "We went through quite a few lineups this week, and I'm very pleased where we ended up. We have a good mix of experience and youthful energy in that group, and they're becoming a better crew everyday."
The Longhorns were led by their first eight and first four victories with respective times of 6:24.316 and 7:28.886, around five seconds faster than second-place finishers Iowa and Virginia.
Texas also received major contributions from their novice eights, which took the top three places in their event, as well as the second eight and second four, which took second place in the finals.
Next weekend, Texas will travel to Columbus to take on yet another top team, Ohio State.