ROW: Wildcats tune up for Big East at Knecht Cup

Alex Gallucci

Saturday was a busy and exhausting day for Villanova rowers, as they hosted and competed in the seventh annual Knecht Cup. The regatta was held on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J., and involved over 50 schools from California to Maine, Wisconsin to Florida. Due to predicted bad weather on Sunday, the schedule was condensed to complete the entire regatta on Saturday instead of holding the finals as planned on Sunday. For many of the teams making the finals, this meant that they were required to race a grueling three times in one day.

Race conditions on Saturday were cooperative, as they continued to improve with each set of races, ending with near perfect conditions for the evening finals.

“Usually we only race twice a day, so having all the races on Saturday was a challenge for the team,” senior captain Elena McDermott said. “But I think our training really prepared us to handle it. In fact, we handled it better than most of the crews whose times slowed as the day progressed – our varsity eight actually got faster.”

Despite their fatigue, the Wildcats were able to advance three of their five boats to the finals. The women’s second varsity four boat placed third in their final, while the novice eight petite boat placed fourth. In the third finals of the varsity eight race, the Wildcats finished in second place by two seconds to Southern Methodist University. Also competing were the lightweight four and novice four boats, which finished fifth and third, respectively, in their heats.

With the Big East championships quickly approaching in justunder two weeks, the team will see an increase in the intensity and frequency of its practices. With additional afternoon workouts, it will be focusing on maximizing its speed and technique in preparation for the competitive Big East teams.

“Big Easts are always an incredibly competitive weekend for us,” McDermott said, on her expectations for the championships. “It’s a smaller race; however, the strength of the programs involved is much higher than we’ve raced this season. With two weeks of training ahead of us, it’s hard to predict right now how the race will go.”

The Big East Championships will be held April 29 in Worcester, Mass.