Rowing experiences some rough waters in ’07
Carie Graves, who for the past nine years has guided The University of Texas women's rowing team, had a little too much time on her hands in late May.
Instead of preparing her team for the NCAA Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Graves was in Austin, looking back on a season that was a disappointment to her -- despite finishing first at the Big 12 Invitational.
The Horns enjoyed four top-three finishes in the NCAA South/Central Regionals in early May, but finished seventh in the South Region at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Texas had claimed their sixth consecutive Big 12 Invitational at the end of May, as UT won five of the six races in the Big 12 regatta.
"We had a strong showing that day," Graves said. "Our goal every year is to win the Cup at the Invitational.
"We've had some good teams and have had success in the last few years."
That success, in addition to the run of Big 12 Invitational triumphs, included back-to-back appearances in the NCAAs in 2003 and 2004.
Coming into this season, Texas had finished nationally-ranked in the US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) poll in four of the past six seasons.
"This year we just didn't have the boat speed," Graves said. "There was an interesting team dynamic. We had good kids, but we didn't have the same kind of dedication to aerobic training. The success you have during the season is because of all the work and preparation done in the off-season."
That said, Graves was encouraged by some results in the NCAA South/Central Regionals.
"I'm competitive and I don't like to lose," she said. "I want the kids to have success. To have that success, you have to train constantly."
Graves praised junior Alex Janss, senior Carly Gloge and freshman Nancy Arrington for their contributions to the team. The coach is enthused about Janss and Arrington looking towards 2008.
"Peer pressure on a team leads to much more effort," Graves said. "That kind of leadership is necessary. A coach can only lead so far and do so much. The leadership of a team mainly comes from the members of that team.
"I wasn't puzzled by the results we had this year because it was a reflection of what we did not do three months earlier."
Graves sees Janss and Arrington as pillars on which to build the team next year.
"Now we move forward," Graves said, leaving '07 in the rear-view mirror.