BY STEFAN AYANIAN
The rowing team competed at the Cooper Invite in Camden, N.J., where they raced against Fairfield, Marist, Iona, and Drake University. Sacred Heart’s Varsity 8 finished fifth in Heat 1 with a time of 8:10. The second varsity team competed in Heat 3 and finished fourth with a time of 8:31. As for the freshman novice, their performance was the best among the team, as they came in second with a time of 8:09.
With four meets remaining in the regular season, the Pioneers are trying to figure out the right lineups to put together, which will be productive in competing at a higher stroke for a distance over 2,000 meters. Getting the team to fully work together as a whole has been a tough task because of the different styles and techniques that the rowers have.
Despite the team putting in a full week of practice of seat racing and putting together a varsity eight with their faster four ports and four starboards, it wasn’t enough to hold against their opponents.
Head coach Nicoleta Mantescu was impressed with the way the freshmen novice performed at the Cooper Invite and thinks that the group will make a great impact on the team’s competitive level.
“We have a great freshmen class that will be very successful in the next few years,” said Mantescu. “They are competitive, strong and eager to win. With a little more experience, they will be a threat in the years to come.”
Junior co-captain Caroline Bolletino has high hopes for the team and realizes the intricacies the team faces while rowing in their meets.
“We need to practice swinging together and our leg drive to make sure we’re exerting our power in the most powerful and efficient way. If we can click as a boat and use all the strength we have in the best way, we will succeed,” said Bolletino.
Senior co-captain Kalliopi Gatzoflias acknowledges the fact that team goes up against big name schools and they haven’t had enough practice in the boat. She also said that they need to keep practicing lineups and working together as one. Even though Sacred Heart didn’t come out with a win, Gatzoflias thought it was a good learning experience for the team to learn from the best that they competed against.
“We didn’t let the competition discourage us and I think that’s a positive that we can take away from it. It was a great learning curve at the beginning of the season so now we know what to improve on going forward,” said Gatzoflias.
Gatzoflias credits the freshman class with their contributions that they have made with improving with their race times and the energy that they bring to motivate and encourage the team to perform at their best.
“I think that this novice class is great. There are a lot of them which really increased our numbers. And they all bring great energy, commitment, and always are pushing themselves. They are a very strong class and are only going to get better from here,” said Gatzoflias.