Oct. 9, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Lady Vol rowing team will take to the Tennessee River for their season opener on Saturday. This section of their home river however, is in Chattanooga for the 20th annual Chattanooga Head Race.
At just over three-miles, this race offers the Lady Vols their first opportunity to compete against other notable universities. The competition for the Varsity 8+ includes: University of Alabama Rowing, Emory University Crew, Georgia Tech Crew, University of Georgia Crew, Northwestern State University Crew, and Auburn University Crew.
The Women's Collegiate 8+ is the first race of the day, beginning at 9 a.m., where the Lady Vols will compete with three varsity eights. At 3:20 p.m., the Lady Vols will take their smaller shells to the water again, competing with five Collegiate fours.
In the race for gold in the Women's Collegiate 4+, Tennessee will face Conference-USA foes, the University of Central Florida and the University of Alabama. Other competitors for the Collegiate 4+ are Vanderbilt University Crew, Virginia Tech Crew, University of Georgia Crew, Auburn University Crew and others.
At the Chattanooga Head Race last year, the Lady Vols took first, sixth and eighth in the Varsity 8+ competition, with a winning time of 16 minutes, 55 seconds. Their closest competition in 2011 was the University of Alabama Women's 8+, following 17 seconds behind. In the Collegiate 4+ in 2011, Tennessee dominated the water, bringing home a first and second place finish over UCF and Alabama. The fours also brought home eighth, ninth and 13th place finishes.
In fall rowing regattas, all crews row five kilometers upstream, make the turn, then enter through the chute to start the race. All boats start at different times and race the clock throughout the course of the winding 5-kilometer race. Shells cross the finish line in Chattanooga with a crowd of fans cheering them on until the horn sounds for them to paddle.
The Lady Volunteers are looking to take advantage of their racing opportunity this weekend, hoping to start off the first regatta of three in their fall season strong.
For more information about the Chattanooga Head Race, go to ChattanoogaHeadRace.com.