2018 Illini Ergathon

This past weekend, starting at noon on 1/19 and ending just before 11:00 am on 1/22 the team completed a personal challenge and fundraiser to row one million meters in 72 hours. It took us 70 hours and 54 minutes to complete the challenge. During the almost three full days of rowing, at least two people were on an erg in front of the Student Union at all times. It was cold and wet but we are proud to have made it through. The team had many donors supporting our progress. From this, we were able to raise over $5,000 to help buy a new trailer and fund regattas for the Spring 2018 racing season. Thank you to everyone who donated and supported us this weekend. We are still short on money for our new trailer any help would be appreciated. If interested visit: https://illinoisrowingassociation.givingfuel.com/new-shell-trailer.

Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational 2017

This past Saturday the team traveled to Indianapolis for the Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational. The day started off chilly and dark but we managed to stay dry and warm under our new tent. Thank you to all the families who came to support our athletes!

The first race of the day started off strong with the Women’s Varsity 4+ taking third. Starting in 5th, the women surpassed the Penn State A and Marquette A boats, taking home bronze medals. In the Varsity 8+ A, Illinois received 5th after being beaten out by Marquette by four-seconds and Penn State A by three-seconds.

The Novice Women raced in the Varsity 8+ B event, taking fourth with a time of 19:23.3. In the Novice 8+ A event, the new rowers took fifth. After a long season on the water, learning technique and how to move the boat efficiently, the women are ready to gain muscle to beat the teams they faced all season in the spring!

In the Men’s Varsity 4+ A, the heavyweight men beat IUPUI, Marquette, and Penn State, taking ninth in 16:39.9. The lightweight men raced the course in 17:22.9, beating a Purdue boat. In the V8+ beat out Penn State by 2 seconds, rowing a 14:41.8. “The boys brought solid intensity through the last race of the season, and set the tone for the beginning of our indoor training,” said Senior Will Klock, men’s team captain.

The Novice Men raced in the Varsity 8+ B category, finishing 20 seconds behind the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) B boat. In the Novice 8 event, the men took eighth behind Minnesota and beating Marquette by 49 seconds and Penn State by over a minute.

This was a great end of the season and the hard work put out every morning on the water will be put out in the ergs in the coming weeks. Our team is dedicated to getting stronger and faster to be ready for 2K season.

Head of the Charles 2017

This past weekend the team had the incredible opportunity to travel to Boston and compete in Head of the Charles River. As the boats traveled through the bridges of Boston, people lined the water, creating a completely surreal experience. Beautiful weather and smooth water made for very different racing than last year.

On Saturday, the Women’s Varsity 8+ raced, starting with bow number 40. The dynamic duo of Alyse Bondarowicz (sophomore) stroking and Veronika O’Donnell (sophomore) coxing lead the boat to pass crew, finishing 36th. O’Donnell’s textbook lines really helped the crew, pushing hard through Weeks Bridge and then Anderson. Lindsey Cusack, a senior in 6 seat, brought her experience, rowing in the Head of the Charles last year in the Varsity 8+ as well. This race will help this young team progress to more success in the future.

On Sunday, the Men’s Varsity 8+, coxed by Sarah Betadem and stroked by Raymond Pu, also finished 36th. The men went head-to-head against Texas and Notre Dame, slowing through Elliot Bridge and then powering all the way through the finish. “One thing we spoke about beforehand was going out of the start with more intensity, since that was one of our problems at the head of the rock, and we were able to go out hard and maintain the intensity for most of the race,” said Pu.

Head of the Rock Fall 2017

This past weekend we kicked off the fall racing season in Rockford at the Head of the Rock River. Most athletes raced in more than one event and for the novices, this was the longest period of all-eight rowing so far.

Raymond Pu and Michael Coumans set the tone for the day by placing fifth in a competitive Mens Varisty 2-, placing just behind two Notre Dame boats and two Minnesota boats. The two Men’s Varsity 4+ boats finished about a minute and a half behind the first place boat and overall had a strong row, staying strong through the finish. The Men’s Varsity 8+ placed just behind Notre Dame, keeping their split down and going faster for each length of the course.

The varsity women did especially well in small boats. Jo Hannah Sage and Lindsey Cusack took third and Alyse Bondarowitcz and Heidi Pierce received fourth in the Women’s Open 2x. Racing bow four and stern four in the Women’s Varsity 4+, stern four won by about 30 seconds. Finally, the Women’s Varsity 8+ ended the day on a high note, finishing their 4.5K in 19:33.

The Novice teams both rowed strong in Rockford, especially for this being their longest time rowing by eights. They powered through the race and finished strong, leaving everything they had out on the water. The Women’s Collegiate Novice 8+ finished 9th out of 15 boats, finishing at 25:12. The Women’s Open 8+ finished at 22:14 and the Men’s Open Novice 8+ finished at 21:16, both powering through to the very end.

Great job to all boats thank you so much to everyone who came to Rockford to cheer on the team!

Join Illini Rowing!

The Illini Rowing team is looking to recruit a new year of novice rowers. Crew is a great way to stay in shape, be part of a community, and represent Illinois in national events. No experience is required we will teach you everything you need to know during our try outs. For a full try out schedule click here. If you are interested please attend as many of the try out dates as possible. 

ACRA 2017 Recap

Last weekend, May 27th and 28th, the team traveled to Gainesville, Georgia to race at ACRA. Traveling Wednesday allowed the team to practice the course four times before racing began on Saturday morning, getting reacclimated to the venue which was the site of the John Hunter Regatta and our spring break training. Sunday morning the men’s varsity finals C-E were postponed due to weather. Luckily the rain stopped and racing continued. The M1V+ happened later that day instead of in the morning.

Due to the number of varsity men’s teams, all M1V8 participated in a time trial. Taking 30th out of 38 by rowing a 6:07.66, the men raced a second time Saturday in the 3rd Repechage. The men took 7th and moved on to the E final on Sunday which they took 3rd. This ends the rowing careers of Owen Skelding and Curtis Bezault at the University of Illinois.

For the women’s varsity team, Lindsey Cusack rowed the single Saturday morning and finished second in her heat. The 2x, rowed by Vanessa Aceves and Lexi McGargill, also placed second in their heat at a 9:41. On Sunday, both the single, 9:59, and double, 9:28, placed 6th in the grand finals. All three varsity members learned how to scull over spring break this year, only rowing in these boats for two months each.

The novice men’s team finished 4th in the third heat on Saturday morning and finished 3rd in their repechage later that day. On Sunday, the team took 3rd in the B Final racing at a 6:47. This is the highest any men’s novice team for Illinois placed since the founding of the team.

On Saturday, the women’s novice team took fourth in the second heat, moving on to repechages later that day. In their repechage, Illinois took first by eleven seconds which allowed them to move onto the grand final. Taking 4th on Sunday in the grand final, the novice women finished at 7:43.748, the highest placement of any women’s novice team.

ACRA Henley Recap

This past weekend, May 13th through 15th, the team traveled to Nashville to race in ACRA Henley, hosted by Vanderbilt University. When taking practice strokes on Saturday, the water was choppy. By Sunday morning, it had cleared up making for great racing conditions.

The varsity women raced a single rowed by Lindsey Cusack and a double rowed by Vanessa Aceves and Lexi McGargill. Lindsey also raced in a double with a member of the Carnegie Mellon team, racing against the Illinois double. The varsity women’s four beat Xavier, rowing a 9:02.2.

The varsity men raced an eight, stroked by Curtis Bezault. The team got fifth out of eight teams after two days of racing. The boat beat Wichita State by twelve seconds, rowing a 6:37.3, and Tulane University.

Men’s Varsity 8

The novice women raced an eight, stroked by Kastania Dahlen, and a four which had rotating lineups. The eight finished second, rowing a 7:42 to beat Florida. The four finished third, beating Virginia Commonwealth University and Washington University. The women’s four finished at 3rd place and the eight finished at 2nd.


Women’s Novice 8


The novice men raced an eight, stroked by Raymond Pu, a four, and a JV eight. The eight beat Florida’s novice crew. The MN8 also had a tight race against UGA’s JV boat pulling ahead in the last 100m to win by 0.8 seconds. In the four, the men lost to UGA by four seconds and beat Tulane, rowing a 8:09.2.

Award Banquet Recap

On Sunday May 6th, the team held its annual banquet at the Illini Student Union. The event signified the coming end to the 2016-2017 season. We celebrated a successful year with stories, family, and food. Illini Rowing has seen the team expand its capacity with a new site at Lake Clinton, our first full time coach, Cameron Carter, and growth in numbers. The team would also like to congratulate our graduating seniors: Team Captain Owen Skelding, Team Men’s President Curtis Bezault, and Team Women’s President Dana Brecklin. All of whom were dedicated four year rowers. Their presence will be missed.  The following awards were given to some of our most exemplary members:

Novice of the Year: Alyse Bondarowicz Alyse was chosen by the coaches for having a great attitude, demonstrating leadership, and always putting in extra work. In just her first year she became one of the team’s fastest women. She served as the novice women’s captain this year and will be the varsity captain next season.

The Golden Skeg: Veronika O’Donnell  The Golden Skeg is given to a diligent coxswain each year. This was  Veronika’s first year coxswaining. She won this award for her dedication to the team and hard work as a coxswain. She steers straight and scares the women into pulling their hardest.

Amy Cade Award: Lindsey Cusack Third year rower, Lindsey has held up the varsity women with her can-do attitude. She learned to row, race, and win in a single in just two months. She managed the team’s finances this year during some difficult times with leadership. Lindsey has been a model rower for the novices.

Chris Marr Award: Mike Coumans Chris Marr was one of Illini Rowing’s fastest and most dedicated members. This award is named in his honor to recognize a varsity man who showed his skill and speed as a rower. Mike always has a smile on his face and fat ergs. He also serves as our team’s Vice President.

Dan Walsh Award: Will O’Klock Named after our team’s founder, the Dan Walsh Award goes to someone who went out of their way to support the team both on and off the water. Will has sacrificed much of his own free time to organize the team, raise money, and get gear. He is a crucial member of the executive board serving as treasurer this year and will be the men’s team captain for 2017-2018.

Senior Legacy Awards: Chosen by the team’s seniors, this award is given to a rising star on the men’s and women’s novice team.

Women’s: Heidi Pierce: Heidi is a powerful rower and a wonderful novice. She makes each practice better with her uplifting attitude and great form. Keeping the boat set in bow looks easy when Heidi is doing it.

Men’s: Raymond Pu: Sitting in stroke, Ray is a leader on the novice men’s team. He never missed a practice and always goes out of his way to make the boat faster. Ray sets novice crew’s stroke rate and attitude.

Thank you to everyone who came out Sunday night to support the team!

ICRI 2017 Recap

Thanks to everyone who came out to ICRI this past weekend! In attendance were crew teams from DePaul, Saint Louis University, University of Saint Thomas, University of Chicago, and Kansas University. Unfortunately, after careful consideration from the coaches and referees the water was deemed unsafe to row due to intense wind and foot and a half swells. By 9 am the waves were white capped and got worse as the morning progressed.

In recognition of the tragic incident at Northwestern, all teams present took a moment of silent remembrance for Mohammed Ramzan. Teams wore purple wristbands, proceeds going towards the Ramzan family, and purple socks.

On Sunday, Chicago Training Center, Fox Valley Rowing Club and Crystal Lake Rowing Club raced on the course. The water corporate and provided a great foundation for hopefully many more high school races.

Don Lubbers Regatta – a Recap!

Though the second day of racing was cancelled, the team saw some great performances at Don Lubbers in Michigan April 8th.  The MV8 finished second in their heat with a time of 6:21:8 following MSU with a time of 6:04.5. Later that morning both novice teams showed a dominating performance – the MN8 finished first with a time of 6:30.8, edging out the MSU and Purdue. The NW8 displayed equal dominance, finishing first with a time of 7:32.7 followed by Marquette with a time of 7:51.4. The final races of this half featured the Men’s Open 4 and Women’s Open 4. The MO4 raced the Michigan 2 boat, finishing 2nd with a time of 8:33.8. The WO4 raced Drake, and EMU, finishing 3rd with a time of 8.25.4. The second half saw slightly worse conditions, but equally fierce races, with 2nd place finishes for the MO4 (8:39.6), WN8(7:35.7), and WO4(8:31.0). The MN8 finished in front of Purdue and behind Michigan with a time of 6:31.2; the most exciting race was the last race, featuring the MV8, finishing a mere 1.3 seconds behind Case Western with a time of 6:22.5. The team will continue to prepare for upcoming races, including ACRA Henley and the ACRA national championships!

John Hunter Regatta – a Spring Break Recap

The team’s week long stay in Gainesville Georgia ended with a successful set of races at the John Hunter Regatta! After a week of practice on Lake Lanier, races started of on Saturday March 25 with the finals qualifiers; a close mid-pack race allowed the Men’s V8 to finish 3rd behind Georgia Tech and Emory with a time of 6:29.1, edging out Northwestern with a time of 6:29.4. The team’s second race featured the Men’s Novice 4 A and B crews. Each crew finished 5th in their heat, with a time of 7:43.2 and 8:31.4 respectively. The Novice Women’s 4 finished with a time of 8:50.4 ahead of Florida A with a time of 9:19.0. The final morning races featured the Men’s Lightweight 4 (7:47.4), the Varsity women’s 4(8:58.4) and the Women’s Lightweight 4 (8:59.2), who finished, 4th, 4th and 5th respectively.

The afternoon races commenced with the Men’s V8 in the Petite Final, finishing fourth with an overall time of 6:39.8, closing the previous 10 second gap between DePaul (3, 6:35.0). The second race featured the Men’s Novice 8, who earned themselves a spot in the Petite Final with a time of 6:49.1. An excellent race by the Novice Women’s 8 earned them a spot in the Grand Final, finishing first with a time of 7:55.9, second to Florida B. The Men’s Novice 8 Petite final saw the men finish 4th with a time of 7:18.1. The team’s final race featured the Novice Women’s 8 in the grand final, in which they finished 3rd with a time of 8:01.9.

The team will continue to work hard in preparation for upcoming regattas!

Spring 2017 Tryout Information Posted!

Are you interested in joining the Men’s or Women’s Rowing Teams for the Spring 2017 season?

Tryouts start on January 23rd for both Women and Men and will last for one week. For more details, check out the recruiting page.

All interested athletes are encouraged to tryout. We will go through introductory sessions to show all new athletes the basics of rowing.

Final 6k Test of Season Recap

The team finished off the fall season on Wednesday with the last 6k test of the year. A successful test with 24 PRs! Some standout performances on the men’s side from Mike Coumans (’18) – now 5th on the all-time men’s 6k record board and only 6 seconds behind the current 3rd place time held by Nate Tucker (’16), and Danny Stumpf (’20) who is now on the men’s novice record board with the 8th fastest novice time.

On the women’s side, Alyse Bondarowicz (’20) is 11th overall on the women’s record board with the 7th fastest novice time, Jo Hannah (’20) is 8th overall on the women’s record board with the 5th fastest novice time, and Allison Schroeder (’17) is the new women’s team 6k record holder with a time of 23:03.2 beating former standout, Dani Saubert’s, time in 2012 by more than a full split second.

The team will continue to be working hard over winter break in preparation for a fast and fierce 2k season next spring!

Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational

Team arrived at the course. Getting boats rigged for the first race at 10:15

Women’s Varsity ‘A’ four was the first boat out and came through the line at 19:36.10, the ‘B’ four finished in 18:25.90. 

The Novice Men’s 8 ‘A’ boat put up a competitive 15:53.60 edging out DePaul once again. The ‘B’ eight finished in 17:16.00. 

Women’s Novice ‘A’ and ‘B’ eights rowed the course in 18:24.20 and 19:30.40 respectively. 

Men’s Varsity ‘A’ four finished in 16:44.70. The ‘B’ came through with a 16:26.60. 

Women’s Varsity 8 ‘A’ placed third in their race over DePaul and Marquette with a 16:48.60. ‘B’ boat came in with a 19:02.60

The last races of the day, the Men’s Varisty eights saw some solid competition with the ‘A’ boat finishing the day with a 14:48,50 and ‘B’ coming in with a 16:00.0. 

Chicago Boat Race Recap

Women Sweep 8+’s, Men’s V8+ edged out by DePaul.

Illinois Rowing had a successful race Sunday at the Race4Row Chicago Boat Race. Together, Illinois and DePaul University raised a total of $49,000 for Recovery On Water (Row). Abby Zacker, Will Klock, Marianna Huang, Emma Shanleigh, and Max McCarthy represented Illinois alongside the other top fundraisers from DePaul and ROW in a 500 meter sprint at the conclusion of the day of racing.

Despite a few mechanical issues, the women’s team had a very strong showing on the water. The Varsity Women’s 8 finished ahead of DePaul with a time of 16:30.23. The JV Women also finished ahead of DePaul’s JV Women with a time of 18:13.89. Novice Women in the A boat finished first with a time of 17:44.14 while some mechanical issues held back the Novice Women B boat. Regardless, they stayed strong throughout the race and finished with a time of 25:21.91.

On the men’s side, the varsity boat got edged out by DePaul with a time of 14:11.01 while the JV boat finished ahead of DePaul in 14:50.89. In some close races, Novice Men in the A boat finished behind Depaul A with a time of 15:21.34 while the B Novice Men pushed past Depaul B with a time of 15:47.75.

Head of the Charles: Sunday Afternoon Update

The Men’s Collegiate 4+ has completed racing. Unofficial results place them in 31st overall. Women’s Collegiate 8+ finished 23rd in their event, passing several crews en route and advancing their position one spot over their starting number of 24.

Head of the Charles: Sunday Morning Update

Noon Update: No delays so far, but crews have been restricted to launching no earlier than 45 minutes prior to racing. The winds continue to increase in speed and the warm-up area and the Charles Basin has been closed to crews. Men’s 4+ launched at 12:30pm.

The Illinois Crews are gearing up for the day’s rowing. Today, upwards of 25,000 spectators will line the Boston and Cambridge banks of the Charles River to watch the day of racing. The morning will focus predominantly on juniors rowing before giving way to the collegiate and elite events in the afternoon.

Men’s Collegiate 4+

  • Starts at 1:15pm
  • The Illini will be starting in the #13 spot.

Women’s Collegiate 8+

  • Starts at 3:31pm
  • The Illini will be starting in the #24 spot.

A live stream of the race can be found at http://livestream.com/row

As opposed to the deluge of rain the racers saw yesterday, today will be sunny; however, strong winds will peak in the afternoon when the Illinois Crews will be on the water. The winds will make an already difficult course more challenging for the coxswains piloting their shells. In addition to navigating the multiple turns and bridges of the Charles River, the coxswains will also need to dodge crews as they pass one another along the course. The Head Race format (typical of Fall racing) means crews start single file with only 15-20 seconds of separation between crews at the start. As the race evolves, coxswains must carefully pass while trying to take the shortest (and therefore fastest) course down the river. This is not trivial as the constant turns of the course mean that attempting to pass on the inside of the turn can quickly evolve to having to row more distance on the outside of the next turn if passing takes too long.

In preparation for this race, the Illinois coxswains have been studying the course. From watching videos, to studying satellite maps of the course, to practicing and touring the course in the days leading up the race, the coxswains have prepared themselves as well as possible. It will now be up to their abilities, and those of their rowers, to navigate the turns, crews, and bridges of the Charles River.

Head of the Charles: Saturday Noon Update

The Fighting Illini crews in Boston are having a rest day, but their coaching staff is seeing action in several events. Assistant Coach Nate Colgan is starting the day rowing for his Alma Mater MIT in the Mens Alumni 8+. Novice Women’s Coach Michelle Victora is coxing MIT in the next event, the Women’s Alumni 8+. Finally, Assistant Coach and Program Director Bill Grier is rowing for the Michigan Alumni in the Men’s Club 8+. Assistant Coach Samantha Polak will be going off as bow #1 in the Championship Women’s 4+ for the New York AC on Sunday.

The Fighting Illini, who practiced on the course Friday, will be going off Sunday afternoon. The Illinois Men’s Collegiate 4+ (1:15pm) will be starting the Sunday’s racing for the Illini. The Men’s crew will be starting with bow #13 in the top half of the pack. The Men’s 4+ qualified for this event last year and will be looking to improve on their placing from last year. The Women’s Collegiate 8+ will follow at 3:31pm starting with bow #24. This is the first time Illinois has raced an 8+ at the Charles and will be looking to cement their presence in this event by finishing in the top-14 to earn a qualifying spot for next year.

Racing updates will continue throughout the weekend.

Welcome to the Fall 2016 Novice Class!

We are excited to announce the formal addition of the Fall 2016 novice class to the Illinois Rowing Teams! All of the trialists went through three weeks of on-water and ergometer training and evaluations, concluding with a 4,000m test on the erg. This is a very promising young group and is the largest novice class in Illini Rowing history! The online team roster has been fully updated.

  • Andrew Bocklund
  • Sebastian Conybeare
  • Joseph Dillier
  • Henry Doyle
  • James Gustafson
  • Alex Kim
  • Tim Klein
  • Jacob Malak-Ismail
  • Rio Martinez
  • Robert Molloy
  • Ben Norgle
  • Aleck Poradowski
  • Raymond Roglans
  • Michael Sheih
  • Craig Soares
  • Joseph Spina
  • Danny Stumpf
  • Nathan Zurcher

Novice Women

  • Mackenzie Barnhart
  • Alyse Bondarowitcz
  • Deliah Bradley
  • Allyson Brooks
  • Nerja Cuplinskas
  • Kastiania Dahlen
  • Stephanie Eilts
  • Emma Elmiger
  • Camille Farruggio
  • Keira Frese
  • Jenne Goeke
  • Marianne Huang
  • Jen Hustedt
  • Diana Kowalski
  • Violetta Montanez
  • MK Nastali
  • Veronika O’Donnell
  • Heidi Pierce
  • Summer Robbins
  • Jo Hannah Sage
  • Maura Smith

Novice Coxswains

  • Noah Apao
  • Mitalee Bharadwaj
  • Mary Marsh
  • Nicky Ou
  • Zoe Potts

2016 Tryout Information Posted

Tryouts start on Aug 23rd for Women and Aug 24th for Men. Schedules are posted on the recruiting pages: Women | Men.

All interested athletes are encouraged to tryout. Introductory sessions start the first week of classes – see schedules for details.

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