Jan. 8, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – Irish head rowing coach Martin Stone announced the 2003 spring schedule today which features regattas versus nationally-ranked opponents Clemson, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State and a trip to Seattle, Wash., for the Windermere Cup.
The Irish open the spring season Wednesday, March 12, for a dual regatta against Central-region power Clemson in Clemson, S.C., before heading to Knoxville, Tenn., for a week-long training trip and a dual regatta against Tennessee on March 15. Notre Dame then goes to Ann Arbor, Mich., on March 22 for a race against national power Michigan. The Wolverines were ranked in the top five for much of the 2002 season and finished eighth in the team competition at the 2002 NCAA meet.
Notre Dame then goes to West Lafayette, Ind., on March 30, for the Indiana Classic. The Irish have two more dual regattas as they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to face powerhouse Iowa on April 6, before heading to East Lansing, Mich., for a date with Michigan State on April 12. Michigan State had an impressive NCAA meet in 2002 by finishing ninth in the team competition and is one of the top programs in the nation in 2003, while Iowa was ranked in the top five at the end of the 2001 season.
The Irish finally return home for their only dual regatta in South Bend as they play host to Dayton on April 13. The race will be run on the St. Joseph River with the start and finish at Margaret Prickett Park in Mishawaka.
Notre Dame then has two weeks off before heading to Worchester, Mass., for the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge. Notre Dame finished second at the 2002 Challenge and is looking to unseat defending champion Syracuse at this year’s regatta. The meet features all nine BIG EAST Conference schools which sponsor rowing including the Orangewomen, the Irish, Boston College, Georgetown, Rutgers, Miami, Villanova, Connecticut and West Virginia.
After the BIG EAST meet, Notre Dame will go to Seattle for the Windermere Cup on May 3. The Windermere Cup is one of the nation’s premier races and teams are selected by invitation only. Many of the nation’s top crews will compete in Seattle, including defending national champion Washington in the varsity eight and second varsity eight competition.
Next the Irish head to Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 17-18, for the Central Regions, a meet which has huge implications on the NCAA Championship meet. Last season, four teams competing in the Central Region regatta received invitations to the NCAA meet.
The NCAA Championships May 30-June 1 in Indianapolis, Ind., conclude the 2003 season. Notre Dame is looking to qualify for its second consecutive NCAA meet as the Irish had the varsity eight compete in 2002. This year, the Irish are looking to have all of their boats qualify for the team competition. In 2002, the varsity eight placed 16th overall, while the Irish were 13th in the final CRCA Rowing Poll.
“This is the toughest schedule we have faced since I have been head coach at Notre Dame,” Stone says.
“We scheduled many teams that are regional and national powers in dual races this season. They should all provide excellent competition for our team and prepare us for the big regattas of the season including the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge, the Windermere Cup, the Central Regions and ultimately the NCAA Championships.”