Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas Rowing starting its ascent

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Champions are often built through offseason preparation and improvement, and just one week into the racing season, Texas Rowing has already shown the country that it used the break to continue building on its dynastic success.

On the first official day of the racing season at the San Diego Crew Classic, Texas stormed out of the gates winning three of its four races. The I Eight, II Eight and Varsity 4 took home first place finishes while the Open Eight finished in second. All four boats advanced to the grand final.

“Today was a terrific start to the season’s racing,” head coach Dave O’Neill said after his team came off the water. “This was only the first step, and there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

In the grand finals, the results on the first day remained identical. Texas won the grand finals with 3 boats: the I Eight, II Eight and Four. Just like the day before, Texas finished second in the open eight final. 

“It was a great day here in San Diego. All four crews raced really hard, and I’m really proud of the team,” said O’Neill. 

Graduate student Mette Nielsen, who transferred from Yale, was the catalyst for the standout I Eight boat, and was later shouted out by her coach. At the stroke position, she already helped guide Yale to the Second Eight National Championship. Her transfer into the program and her impact is a common theme across college sports. Even in sports such as rowing, the transfer portal has proven to be a weapon. 

The success at the San Diego Crew Classic gives great insight into the potential for Texas’ rowing season. Going into the weekend, Texas was ranked the No. 4 team in the country. But, after success in a field headlined by Pac 12 powers in No. 3 Washington and No. 7 California, Texas vaulted to No. 2 in the national rankings. 

Texas continued its momentum on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Racing Big Ten powerhouse, the No. 9 Michigan Wolverines, Texas swept all four races. O’Neill credited the team’s versatility, specifically in the First Eight, as sophomore Abby Dawson and graduate student Lanie Nitsch switched positions and still posted a quality time. 

The result was even more impressive due to the conditions. Rough waters made for difficult racing, especially in the open Eight. The conditions were so difficult that the boat was not able to row the full course in their practice race the day before. With a relatively inexperienced boat, this could have caused major setbacks. However, O’Neill credits junior Sue Holderness at the stroke position for keeping the boat focused. 

“Heading into this race I knew it was going to be (a) challenge,” head coach Dave O’Neill said. “It was great to see our entire team step into the adversity head on, and the end results were positive.”

After an impressive start to the season, Texas Rowing will gear up for the Longhorn Invite on April 27th. Taking place on Lake Walter E. Long,Texas will have its shot at the top and will have the opportunity to test itself against the best competition in the country. Texas will host defending national champions and top-ranked Stanford as well as 13-time defending ACC champions Virginia and 10-time Big Ten Champions Ohio State.

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