By (Ehsan Kassim)

Seniors on the University of Alabama rowing team will have one final chance to race at home, at Manderson Landing on Saturday at 9 a.m. against the Dayton Flyers.

Alabama head coach Larry Davis looks forward to celebrating senior day and honor all the contributions the seniors have made to the team in their four years at Alabama.

“We want to give our seniors a sign of our appreciation,” Davis said. “Anytime they commit for those four years, they have done a lot for the development of the program. The speed of the team and the size have grown radically in their four years. They have gone from portable trailers to having a boat house. There are a lot of things the seniors have contributed that we want to thank them for. We’d love to see a big crowd to finish off the home season and send the seniors off with a strong showing of appreciation.”

The meet will also serve as the Power of Pink race. The team will honor breast cancer victims by dressing all pink for the regatta.

Davis hopes for a big crowd for the meet to honor his seniors, but is keeping an eye on the weather, as there is a potential for scattered thunderstorms. However, Davis feel his team is prepared to face the elements, coming off a strong showing against Bucknell, in less than ideal conditions.

“Against Bucknell, the team raced really well,” Davis said. “We did not necessarily win everything, but we won the majority of the competition. The conditions were very squirrely, windy with cross winds and a lumpy water. We have not traditionally rowed well in those kinds of conditions. I think our team did a really good job of stepping up and learning to deal with that.”

Davis wants to see continued improvement from the first two races of the spring season, as the team rounds into shape. He stressed the importance of improved boat speeds from race to race.

Junior Tayla Cabana has been one of the rowers Davis has seen improve. Cabana did not row in high school, instead she played basketball, volleyball and ran track. However, Davis still recruited her for the rowing team.

“She was a little unique,” Davis said. “We normally have a lot of walk-ons, but in her situation, we were in touch with her. We knew she was a good athlete. She was a state champion in Alaska in track & field. She had a lot of the kinds of attributes we look for in an athlete that can change from what they have done into the sport of rowing. She is an example of someone that excelled in a different sport, came here because of athletic ability, her desire and her level of passion and fire to compete, and has become a very successful Division I athlete.”

Cabana has a strong sense of appreciation for the seniors on the team, because she believes they helped show her the ropes and she learned a lot from them.

“I’ve only been rowing for three years, so I’ve learned a lot from our seniors,” Cabana said. “They have a lot of experience. They’ve taught me a lot in rowing, how to be a great teammate and many other things. It’s been a great experience. Rowing is one of the hardest sports I have ever done. It’s just been very great, and I love my team.”

Cabana set lofty expectations from herself and the rowing team for the Dayton meet.

“A sweep would definitely be great to see,” Cabana said. “But we’ll just have fun and see what improvements we made since our last race.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports