By Dan Marro
On Oct. 29 the women’s rowing team defeated Fairfield University in the SHU Scare Dual Meet.
“Winning any competition feels good, but this one had a different kind of meaning,” said Sacred Heart’s women’s rowing head coach Niceta Mantescu. “We’ve been chasing Fairfield for years and despite the fact that in small boats, we were able to win races against them. We never came close in the eights before.”
In fact, Mantescu went on to say that her girls recorded the fastest eight time for the program since 2013 finishing with the time of 7:10.30.
“I went into the meet feeling confident that we had a lot of strength and good technique training,” said senior captain Sarah Poirer. “It was just a matter of getting out there and seeing where we were in comparison to Fairfield.”
The Pioneers were able to defeat the Stags in four of the six events that were held including the Varsity 8 event, 4+ team twice and the novice 8.
Both Mantescu and Poirer credit the win over Fairfield to the hard work and dedication the team has been putting in all fall.
“We’ve been working hard all fall,” said Mantescu. “The hard work we put in and the strength of our freshmen class I believe has contributed to our success, not just in this particular race, but in all the fall races we’ve had thus far.”
The longer races proved to be a challenge for the Pioneers, but it was one they were able to overcome.
“Since we’re in our long distance season it was hard racing the shorter sprint races,” said Poirer. “We did workouts at higher intensities and shorter durations leading up to the race to prepare us.”
Although the confidence level is high, both Mantescu and Porier certainly see room for improvement heading into the final race of the fall.
“There is always room for improvement,” said Mantescu. “This win is a confidence booster, but we still have a long way to go if we want the winning streak to continue. We need to get to the point where we can say we have 24 rowers competitive enough to take on anyone in our conference.”
Both the coach and her rowers felt as though the team could continue to improve and build momentum for their final event that took place on Nov. 6. Prior to the race, Mantescu and her rowers voiced their thoughts.
“Although the win [against Fairfield]feels great, there is always more to work on,” said Poirer. “Whether that is better technique, more efficient rowing stroke or just getting stronger. It is a great feeling knowing that I’m that strong and I can get even stronger and get even faster with every practice as long as the motivation is there.”
The Pioneers concluded their fall season by competing at The Head Of The Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn. Their excitement level was through the roof especially following their latest win.
“The Head of the Hooch is personally one of my favorite races of the fall season,” said Poirer.
The team is hoped to have as many rowers as possible take part in the event.
“Last year we only took five rowers there but they performed well,” said Mantescu.“We qualified for the events this year and now we doubled the squad that will participate. If we perform well and keep all the events qualified, next year we hope to go back with even more team members.”