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Women’s Crew Looks For First Official Conference Championship

Oct. 8, 1999

CLEMSON, S.C. – In its inaugural season last year, the Clemson rowing team won the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Regatta and placed fourth at the Central Region Regatta. “I was very pleased with the successes in the inaugural year,” said Clemson head coach Susie Lueck, who is now in her second season with the Tigers. “We overcame a lot of challenges to have a successful spring racing season.”

Last season’s Novice 8+ completed an undefeated spring season with a win in the Grand Final of the Central Region Regatta. “The undefeated novice season showed what our program was capable of,” said Lueck. “The novice races were our first-year rowers competing against the first-year rowers from other schools, so it was on a level playing field.”

In all 34 athletes return from Clemson’s inaugural team, including six of the eight rowers from the Novice 8+ and six of the eight rowers from the top varsity boat. “All 12 of those returning athletes will be fighting for positions in our top boat, so it should be pretty competitive,” said Lueck.

The Tigers have added 29 new athletes to the team this season. “These athletes have the potential to be great rowers,” said Lueck.

The team has shown great improvements on the ergometer (rowing machine) already this fall. Each athlete is tested monthly from August to February in preparation for the spring season. “In September everyone on the team made huge improvements from their August tests, and 10 people had their best score ever,” said Lueck.

Because of their training over the summer, Lueck feels the team is ahead of where it was last year at this time. “We had a lot of athletes who worked out really hard over the summer and came back in great shape, so we didn’t have to start over at ground zero,” she said. “They trained seriously in the summer and are excited about the possibilities of this year.”

The first collegiate race on the east coast was held in September, and although the Tigers did not compete in the race, the results gave the Clemson coaching staff of Lueck and assistant Kelly Lynch a good idea of where this year’s team stands. “We have a good idea of who is showing speed already,” said Lueck. “In the Women’s Varsity 8+ race, 13 of the top 15 schools are in our region.”

Clemson’s season is broken up into a nontraditional fall season and a traditional spring season. The fall schedule consists of time trials over a three mile course, while the spring season consists of head to head competition between teams on a one and one-quarter mile straight course.

The Tigers’ fall season begins October 23rd when Clemson travels to the Head of the Tennessee. “Our season starts out with an opportunity for us to get our feet wet while having a race close to home,” said Lueck.

On Saturday, October 30th, the team returns home to compete in the Clemson Crew Fall Classic, sponsored by the Clemson club team on Lake Hartwell. The following day, the Tigers will dedicate their new boats, which will be followed by their annual Class Day Regatta on Lake Hartwell.

“Our first opportunity to race other ACC teams will be at the Head of the Chatahoochee,” said Lueck. On November 6-7, the Tigers will travel to Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA, to race against several top crews, including North Carolina, Duke, Miami, Tennessee and Texas.

The Rivanna Romp, held November 14 on the Rivanna Reservoir in Charlottesville, VA, will conclude the Tigers’ fall season. “The Rivanna Romp is going to be an incredibly challenging race,” said Lueck.

In Charlottesville, Clemson will face Virginia, who tied with Brown for the national championship last year, and Princeton, who placed third at last year’s national championship regatta. Ohio State, North Carolina, Duke and Miami will compete in the event, also. “The results of this fall will show what we need to achieve by spring in order to make it to the NCAA Championships,” said Lueck.

The spring season begins March 18 when the Tigers will race in the Augusta/Aiken County Spring Regatta on Langley Pond. The following weekend the team will hold the Clemson Invitational on Lake Hartwell. During the first weekend of April the team will compete in the Clemson Sprints, sponsored by the Clemson club team on Lake Hartwell.

The Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships will be held on Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, TN, April 15-16. The Tigers won the Women’s Novice 8+ race at the event last year.

Clemson will race against Michigan State and Washington State on Ovid Lake in Lansing, MI, on April 22.

The first official ACC Championship Regatta will be held April 29 on Lake Monticello just outside of Charlottesville. Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia will compete for the league title. The course is a two-lane course, so the top seeded team will face the fourth-seeded team, then seeds two and three will race. The winners of the two races will compete for the title.

“We’re looking forward to the first official conference championship,” said Lueck. “We’re excited to race Virginia, who tied for the national championship last year, and we are looking to be competitive with Duke and North Carolina. All four programs are strong contenders, so it will be exciting competition.”

The Central Region Championships will be held on Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, TN, May 13-14, followed by the NCAA Championships on the Cooper River in Camden, NJ, May 26-28.

Now that the team has a year of experience, Lueck is looking forward to the possibilities for this year’s team. “This fall we’re going to be able to be competitive, and that is what’s exciting, versus last year at this time everyone was just learning how to row.”