Virginia Rowing's True 'Grit' Key to Dominance Heading into ACC Championships
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia women's rowing team has been dominant on the water during head coach Kevin Sauer's tenure. Sauer has led the 'Hoos to ten top-four finishes in his career and eight consecutive top-six finishes at the NCAA Championships.
Sauer says, "If you expect it too much, then its not going to happen. But you also want to have expectations that you're going to go do well. Its kind of a funny line to go walk."
UVa senior rower Lizzy Youngling says, "The workouts this year have been completely different than last year's. They're really pushing us to find our 'Grit'. Pushing us to the limits that we didn't know we had before."
The Cavaliers are ranked second in the nation after facing a brutal regular season schedule. Virginia has compiled 54 race wins and a second place finish at the Windermere Cup in Seattle, Washington. Coach Sauer believes the key to developing toughness or 'Grit' is putting his team up against the best competition.
Sauer says, "I hope the scheduling and what we've done will help us to rise to the top at the end of the year."
Virginia's next regatta is the ACC Championships. An event the Cavaliers have won 14 of the past 15 times, including most recently five straight first place finishes.
UVa senior rower Hemingway Benton says, "Being a Virginia rower for four years, we can go in with a lot of confidence. "We've trained really hard this year. A lot differently than other years and we can go in and sweep these events."
Sauer says, "Its nice to see that we're seeded number one. I guess people think we're fast. But you got to prove it."
Coach Sauer is building more than just a great rowing team. He's also hoping the training his team goes through in the season will help them beyond a 2000-meter race.
Sauer says, "We're not just talking about making boats go fast here. These are life lessons too. If these kids can handle what we're doing in a practice situation and team situation. Both on the water and off the water. They're going to be great in the outside world."