Snow flurries fell, the wind blew and once again, Creighton lost to the Drake crew. The Drake women’s rowing team defeated Creighton in the 18th annual dual meet between the two schools last Saturday.
The day went relativity fast with only four 1,500-meter races. After an uncharacteristic week of indoor practices due to bridge work done by Des Moines city employees, the Bulldogs came out strong.
In the first race of the morning, the varsity-four boat comfortably defeated Creighton, which jump-started the Bulldogs to victory. Despite the strong wind and the 30-degree weather, the girls remained focused.
“The [varsity] four [race] ending with open water between the boats was really significant,” Head Coach Charlie DiSilvestro said. “The girls had been having some difficulties at practice, so for them to come together as a crew was a big factor for their win.”
As the varsity-eight boat rounded the bend, Drake appeared to have the lead. But as the finish line neared, Creighton closed the gap. Drake stayed strong to finish a few strokes ahead and clinch the win for the entire squad. The team avenged last season’s loss to Creighton.
“It was an exciting win for us,” DiSilvestro said. “We started out with a lead. Then Creighton fought back, but we were able to push back as well. In the end, we had a great sprint and held them off by about a second.”
Spectator freshman Frances Thomas said it was especially exciting to watch the varsity-eight race.
“At the end it seemed like the boats were neck and neck, and there was a little uncertainty about who won,” he said.
The varsity-eight coxswain sophomore Leslie Sabick was extremely proud of the team’s effort.
“The girls rowed extremely hard today, and I am really impressed by the effort they put forth,” she said. “By the end they were really tired, but they powered through, which is representative of their drive this season.”
Drake’s novice-eight boat raced against Creighton’s junior varsity boat and was defeated. This was, however, the first sprint race for the rowers, so the loss provided value as a learning experience.
Drake’s novice-eight boat also raced against Creighton’s novice boat for the last race of the day. Creighton once again came out ahead of the Bulldogs.
The varsity wins were the deciding factor for the winner, based on the scoring arrangement. The duel ended with a brief trophy ceremony and some words of wisdom from both coaches.
Junior captain Kat Moore said the win was a significant one.
“We had a pretty big leg up on Creighton at the Head of the Iowa, over a minute in the varsity boat, so we still didn’t want to get too confident as a team,” she said. “Since the race course was much shorter today, and they had their full roster, we couldn’t take anything too lightly. I’m proud of how well our girls stuck to our race plan and rowed through the other crew. At the end of the day, we showed them we wanted it more.”