By (Ehsan Kassim)

The University of Alabama rowing team has already moved on from its sweep of Eastern Michigan on Feb. 25 and is ready to travel to Dublin, Virginia to take on Bucknell on March 11.

While UA was successful in dominating Eastern Michigan just two weekends ago, they took away things they could improve on for their next race.

One thing UA Head Coach Larry Davis would like to see cleaned up is the focus of the team when it comes to long pieces or multiple races.

“I think we need to be more consistent in executing the basic skills,” Davis said. “We do them well at times, but when we get in the thick of things, sometimes we forget the way we execute has to be consistent, no matter the level of intensity you want or the level of fatigue you have.”

Davis attributes the tendency to lose focus on the youth of the team, but also stresses the importance of paying attention to the basics.

While Davis would like to see improvement from the Eastern Michigan race for the team, he said that the team is still trying to figure out the best fits and lineups for the thick of the spring season.

“I’d like to see us be faster than we were in the Eastern Michigan race,” Davis said. “We have not set a good hard lineup yet. We are going to do a lot of selection during our spring training, when we return from Virginia. That will give us an idea of who really makes a boat move the best, at more of our racing speed, to achieve our ideal boat speed.”

Davis emphasizes the importance of teamwork in rowing, pointing out that if the synchronization is not 100 percent throughout the race, the team will suffer.

“There are very few sports I can think of that require you to do the same exact thing at the same exact time and run flat out,” Davis said. “If even one rower falls out of sync, you can still win the race, but it’s the hard way to do it, because you won’t have a good boat speed.”

Shannon Sweat, a junior and the coxswain of the Varsity 8 in the race against Eastern Michigan, pinpointed something she wanted to work on for the race against Bucknell.

“We got the job done and moved effectively in the first race,” Sweatt said. “But I want to work on being more effective in being unified. That would help us get a bit more speed.”

Sweatt plays an important role on the water in the mind of Davis. He sees the coxswain as the quarterback of the boat.

While the rest of the rowers pay no attention to what the boats around them are doing, the it is the responsibility of the coxswain to make sure everyone is doing their job, and embody the coach on the water.

“It involves a lot of responsibility,” said Sweatt. “On the water, you not only steer and protect your crew, but you also run workouts and coach them. You are essentially a scaled down version of your coach.”

Alabama will return to row at home on March 25, which will be both senior day and the Power of Pink race.

Rowers encourage fans to attend the meet on Manderson Landing, as it gives them a boost a home field advantage.

“Having fans out is not something we are used to,” Sweatt said. “ A lot of venues we go to, there aren’t many spaces for spectators. There’s not a lot of people watching you until the end. It’s a good reminder that people care and are supportive of our sport, we appreciate it when people show up.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports