Badgers Advance Two Boats to Grand Finals at IRA ChampionshipsJune 1, 2012
Two boats will race for national titles and three will race in petite finals at national championships
CAMDEN, N.J. -- The Wisconsin men's rowing team sent two boats to grand finals and three to petite finals on the second day of the 2012 Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships Friday in Camden, N.J.
With a steady wind gradually picking up throughout the day, and a rain delay of nearly an hour on the Cooper River, Wisconsin won its open four repechage, finished second in the second varsity eight semifinal, and finished fourth in the varsity eight, novice eight and varsity four semifinals.
The Badgers will race in the grand final for a national title in the second varsity eight and open four, while competing in the petite final in the varsity eight, novice eight and varsity four events. UW will also race in the heats and finals of the lightweight four race.
"In a headwind like there was today, every little mistake is magnified," head coach Chris Clark said. "Things happen, but that doesn't make it any easier to take, we are disappointed with the result."
In the second varsity eight semifinal, Wisconsin had a tough race for the second-straight day, but was good enough for a second-place finish, advancing to the grand finals with a time of 6:21.003. After falling behind early, the Badgers climbed up to second place behind California by the 500-meter mark. UW made a fight for the top spot, but fell to the Golden Bears by just 1.532 seconds.
"They haven't had a good race yet, today they were in the buoys early, a length behind Cal," Clark said. "You have to be good enough in your division to have a bad race and still advance. They were good enough to make it to tomorrow's final though."
Entering the national championships, the novice eight was seeded 10th, so while a fourth-place finish in the semifinals left Wisconsin out of the grand final, its performance exceeded expectations. The Badgers finished in 6:14.490, just 2.357 seconds behind Harvard. In fifth place near the 500 meter mark, UW fought its way into fourth place, nearly catching the Crimson for the final spot in the grand final.
"The novices had an inspiring race," Clark said. "They are a rising crew with a good mindset and lots of potential."
The varsity four recorded a fourth-place finish in its semifinal, finishing in 7:21.786. After a good start, the Badgers fell behind Brown and Georgetown, and fought Navy for third place and the final spot in the grand finals. Navy edged the Badgers, as Wisconsin finished just 1.894 seconds out of third place and 4.050 seconds behind Brown, who finished first.
In the open four, Wisconsin advanced to the grand final with a first-place finish in the repechage, finishing in 7:06.444. The Badgers got off to a great start and never looked back, winning by open water over second-place Navy by 4.014 seconds.
"It was nice to see the open four qualify for the grand final," Clark said. "The fours are hard to predict, since we don't spend a lot of time working on them during the year."
Racing continues tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. CT with the lightweight four heats, followed by a grand or petite final. The Badgers race in two grand finals and three petite finals on the final day of the IRA National Championships.