March 18, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 16-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol rowing team will open the spring portion of its 2010-11 schedule on Saturday, as the squad takes on Minnesota at 10 a.m. on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Tennessee is looking to build on a solid fall campaign, during which the Big Orange captured nine medals across three different events. Head coach Lisa Glenn said that her team has worked hard in the offseason.
"Our winter training and preparation has been very consistent," Glenn said. "There have been a great many improvements made on the parts of many of the rowers. That makes it fun as a coach. They have really enjoyed the process of getting fitter and stronger and better as rowers. That has made the past 6-8 weeks go by pretty quickly."
Because of ongoing construction on the Henley Street Bridge, UT is unable to host home races on Lake Loudoun. While they'd certainly prefer to race at home, Glenn said her squad will be focused on the task at hand.
"We haven't talked a lot about where we're competing, it's just a race day and we have to think of it that way," Glenn said. "We are so lucky to have one of the best race courses in the country so close by. The fact that we can't be race here in front of our boat house is different, but going 30 minutes away and being on some of the best water in the nation is pretty lucky for us."
Tennessee returns a solid core of rowers from last year's squad, which captured the first-ever Conference USA championship and advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Glenn said that the experience from last season will certainly benefit her team, but she doesn't want them to rely on that success alone.
"It definitely helps to have that experience," Glenn said. "But it doesn't change the fact that you have to earn your way every day, and I think that's going to be critical for us. We have to stay in the here-and-now and earn our way to the next day. It helps a lot, and it provides some good fuel, but our focus has to be in the moment in order to continue progressing."
Racing begins at 10 a.m. with the Novice 8+ boats. The 2V4+ will be next at 10:20 a.m., followed by the V4+ at 10:40 a.m. The second varsity eight shell will go off at 11:00 a.m., setting the stage for the last race of the day, the Varsity 8+ at 11:20 a.m.
With a forecast of 71 degrees and sunny, Coach Glenn said fans can expect a great show on Saturday.
"The plan is for them to see a team that's ready to go and excited to be opening the season," Glenn said. "We start racing at 10, we're finished by 11:30, so it's fairly efficient. The weather is supposed to be nice, so it should be a great day to be outside and be on the shoreline on Melton Hill Lake and watch some beautiful rowing. They will no doubt see great racing."