Texas rowing stays strong atop national rankings

Tyler Winter, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 5, 2022 flipbook.

In the mind of coxswain Rachel Rane, “pressure is a privilege.”

Last year, Texas rowing was an underdog team, trying to clinch its first national championship. This year, the Longhorns are the top team in the nation. Rane loves it. 

“I think being the target, I see it as we’re still chasing, we’re still hunting,” Rane said. “We have this great opportunity to be in this position where everybody’s sort of gunning for us. So how can we handle that and prevail?”

So far this season, Texas has placed first in all races and regattas in all boats: winning at SMU with the first and second eight-person boats and the first four-person boat. At the San Diego Crew Classic, Texas took the top spot with the first four-person boat and the first, second and third eight-person boats.

Texas is set up to race No. 4 Michigan, No. 6 Princeton and No. 13 Rutgers in the next couple weeks. Head coach Dave O’Neill acknowledged the strength of the competition and challenges ahead. 

“Every time that we’re racing, we know there’s gonna be challenges,” O’Neill said.“We embrace the challenge. We know we want those challenges, and I think those challenges during the regular season set us up well for the end of the year.”

Texas is set to face off in the Longhorn Invite, Big 12 Championship and NCAA national championship following these next couple races and regattas later this month.  

Izabella Krakic, the bow for Texas’ first four-person boat, was a member of last year’s national championship team. While much work goes into their preparation, Krakic believes that at the end of the day, it’s just a matter of who crosses the line first. That’s what ultimately gets remembered.

“I trust it in my team. I trust my coaches,” Krakic said. “We’re just doing what we’re doing. We’re getting faster and fitter.”

Recently, Texas won the Big 12 Boat of the Week award for the Third Varsity Eight boat. The boat came from behind to finish by open water. 

“It is a well deserved recognition, and I’m happy for them,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said throughout the season, he has purposely set up races against some of the nation’s strongest teams.

“We do so much training for so few races,” O’Neill said. “And I want all the races that we have to mean something.”

With much of the season left, O’Neill is taking the approach of treating each competition like the championship. For now, Texas will race at Michigan this Saturday and compete in a regatta at Princeton and Rutgers next Saturday, April 23.

“I have a couple of rules on race day: never run and never yell,” O’Neill said. “The team should never feel like I’m out (of control). If the team sees me out of control, then they’re going to be out of control.”