Clemson, S.C. — The Clemson rowing team made its return to the course for the first time in 364 days when it hosted the Carolina Cup on March 6. This season, the Tigers are scheduled to compete in seven races, three of which the Tigers will host. Additionally, Clemson will host the ACC Championship for the 12th consecutive season and 19th time overall.
The 2020 rowing schedule was canceled on March 12, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic following the conclusion of the Tigers’ first race of the spring season, the Carolina Cup. At the Carolina Cup in 2020, the Tigers posted their best point total since 2017.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone on our team, our Tiger family, our country and those across the world who lost loved ones due to this virus,” said Head Coach Stephen Frazier Wong. “These are tough times. Our Tigers have been working diligently through extraordinary circumstances and we could not be prouder of how our rowers have shown their commitment to each other and to their personal growth during this time of adversity.
“Our first race versus Duke and UNC will come just four days shy of a full year that we have been under the shadow of this deadly pandemic. Judging by the excitement of our team over the prospect of lining up to race, we expect that March 6 will feel like a celebration of everything that we love about our sport. Our next race the following weekend is the one that we all remember as the race where we had to stop loading our trailer prior to traveling to Oak Ridge, Tenn., last year. It was then that we learned that our 2019-20 season was canceled. We have two fifth-year seniors on our team who returned specifically because of that devastating moment and we know that they will have our team especially fired up to bring our best that weekend. We are incredibly grateful to the ACC, Clemson University and the Clemson Athletic Department for their commitment to providing a safe environment for us in which to compete, and we cannot wait to line up our bows and fly down the racecourse.”
Prior to the Carolina Cup, the Tigers competed in two fall races in 2019, the Secret City Head Race and Rivanna Romp. At the Secret City Head Race, Clemson ran five novice eights, with the 1N8 winning the Women’s Collegiate Novice 8+ heat with a time of 19:14.3. The Tigers finished with four boats in the top 10, with the 2N8 taking fourth (20:21.4), the 3N8 finishing eighth (21:28.6) and the 4N8 rounding out the top 10 (23:27.1).
At the 2019 ACC Championship, the Tigers finished tied for fourth, their best finish in four seasons. Additionally, Clemson tallied its most points in an ACC Championship since 2015 with its 58-point effort. The 2V8 was the top finisher for the Tigers at the conference championship that season, placing third with a time of 6:46.093. The effort netted 21 points for Clemson. The Tigers also fared well in the fours competitions, where the 1V4 (7:34.133) and 2V4 (7:46.183) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Tigers graduated seven of their nine seniors from last season, including 2019 All-ACC selection Aliute Udoka. Two of those seniors, Maura Chozick and Elise Sum, elected to return to the team for another season, per NCAA COVID-19 rules. In addition, the program boasts 11 true seniors: Sarah Adams, Emily Ash, Katie Herbolsheimer, Katie Holmes, Emalie Houk, Bridget Kane, Cate Schrieber, Cate Smith, Julia Suplick, Charlotte Taylor and Kaley Wojciechowski.
Several returners also hold some of the program’s fastest times, all of which were current-assisted times posted at the Cardinal Invite on Feb. 16, 2019. Sum, Wojciechowski and junior Kate Hadley were members of the 1V8 that clocked a 5:40.734, the fastest current-assisted time in program history. Those three, with the addition of Chozick, also posted times of 5:52.314 and 5:52.682 during the first and third heats. Chozick joined juniors Hannah Hayes, Jasmine Lewis, Meghan McLean and Katie Konieczny in recording a 5:54.864 in the 2V8, the fastest current-assisted time by a 2V8. Also, in the 2V8 Hayes, Lewis, McLean and Konieczny clocked in at 6:04.997 and 6:02.650 in the first and third heats, respectively.
Clemson rowing continues to host its annual events, the Carolina Cup and the Clemson Invitational, in addition to having one other home race on the schedule this season. The Carolina Cup took place on March 6, and the Clemson Invitational will be held on April 17-18, while the additional home race is set to be rowed on March 20. Additionally, Clemson will travel to Oak Ridge, Tenn., to compete in its first road event, the Cardinal Invite, on March 13-14. On April 2-3, the Tigers head to Sarasota, Fla., for the Sunshine State Invitational. Clemson heads to Raleigh, N.C., for its final road competition on April 23-24, when it competes at the Lake Wheeler Sprints. The Tigers will finish out the regular season at the ACC Championship, which is slated for March 15-16.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, home events will be limited to student-athletes, staff and official personnel only. Fans will not be permitted to attend.