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.

New Website

The Fighting Illini Rowing Clubs will be bringing news to you through our new website. The new website is more accessible adding improved functionality for mobile devices, meaning you can get more updates anywhere. The new systems also make it easier for the team to update content on the road meaning more information about races as they happen. We look forward to bringing you more news as it happens this season!

Thank you for continuing to support our crew!

Illinois Rowing has a New Truck!

Thanks to our generous friends, family, and alumni, we were able to raise enough funds to purchase a new truck! The coaches just picked up a 2014 RAM 2500 diesel that should last the team for many years and miles to come.

ACRA 2016

This year, Illinois took 6 different boats down to Georgia for the ACRA championships. These included a Varsity 8, Novice 8, and double on the men’s side and a Varsity 4, Novice 8, and pair on the women’s side.

The weekend was filled with exciting and close racing with some particularly strong performances. The men’s varsity 8 took 2nd in the D-final of a historically strong field. Similarly, the novice men’s 8 raced hard but were just edged out by DePaul to take 4th in the C-final.

On the women’s side, the novice women’s 8 came together for their best race of the year to take 4th in the B-final. The varsity women’s four, racing as a lineup for the first time after injuries left us without a full 8, pushed through some tough crews and just nicked WashU at the line to take 5th in their B-final.

To add a little bit of drama to the weekend, the varsity women’s pair of Kat Rains and Lindsey Cusack was in the lead in their repechage, in clear position to make the grand final, when an old knee injury reared its head as they faltered across the finish line in second. On Sunday, determined to finish on a strong note, the pair lined up for the start of the B-final and raced neck and neck with UC Davis down the course, well ahead of the rest of the competition.  They slowly extended a small lead in the second half of the race and managed to hold off a desperate sprint from the Aggies to win the petite final!

This marks the final race for a number of senior athletes who have given their all to the team over the last few years:

  • Lizzie Diamond
  • Andrew Holm
  • Billy Hrabak
  • Michael Lyons
  • Kevin McGing
  • Christopher Murphy (novice)
  • Katharina Rains
  • Nathan Tucker

Additionally, we are excited to announce that Andrew Holm has been named to the ACRA Great Lakes All-Region Team and ACRA All-American First Team.

Finally, in a true showing of what it means to be a student athlete, the Illini had 4 First Team Academic All-Americans and 5 Second-Team

First Team

  • Dana Brecklin
  • Justin Baker
  • Abby Mackay-Zacker
  • Christopher Murphy

Second Team

  • Kevin McGing
  • Allison Schroeder
  • Jennifer Buschbach
  • Savannah Henderson
  • Kathleen Hu

This concludes a great year for Illinois Rowing and we can wait for the fall season to start up again!

Full results can be found here.

Introducing the new Illinois Rowing Association

After a long wait, we are excited to announce that the team’s official alumni association has finally been officially incorporated! This will serve many purposes as it will finally allow us to:

  • Properly insure all of our boats and equipment
  • Build up important infrastructure like a permanent 2K course and boathouse
  • Officially hire and employ full-time coaches
  • More efficiently fundraise and track donations made to the team

For more information, please visit the donate section of the website.

Notre Dame and Minnesota Double Dual

On Saturday, the Illinois men hosted a double dual with Minnesota and Notre Dame. two strong club programs with rich histories. While the Illini didn’t come away with any victories on the day, there was a lot of good racing, especially with the Varsity 8 easily handling Notre Dame’s 2V after a poor showing against Minnesota with a new lineup earlier. The crews showed that they were able to hang in with the stronger, more experienced teams and are now ready to tune up for the ACRA Championships next month.

Full results can be found here.

Illinois Collegiate Rowing Invitational

This year marked the fourth annual Illinois Collegiate Rowing Invitational and it turned out to be the biggest and best event we have hosted so far. In total, 12 different teams attended from 6 states, with North Park, St. Thomas, and Kansas State all attending for the first time.

With three fully-buoyed lanes, stake boats, a starters platform, and multiple referee boats, the races ran on time and with minimal hitches. Thanks to all of our volunteer support, much of the burden was taken off the athletes so that they could just focus on racing during the day.

Not only was the event a success, but the Illini came home with a lot of medals as well:

Gold

  •  Men’s V8
  • Women’s JV8

Silver

  • Men’s JV8
  • Men’s Novice 8
  • Men’s Novice 4
  • Women’s Novice 8

Additionally, both the women’s Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 both took 4th in their respective events. All in, the total points allowed the Illini to bring home the Men’s team points trophy, Overall team points trophy, and the State of Illinois Championship Trophy for the 4th consecutive year!

Full results can be found here.

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