Posted: 10/19/2012 | Last updated: October 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh rowing team will kick off its 2012-13 season this weekend at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass. Three Mountain Hawks’ boats will compete, beginning with the Men’s Alumni Eight and Men’s Collegiate Four on Saturday followed by the Women’s Championship Eight on Sunday.
“This weekend does two things for us in terms of the fall and our season,” said Lehigh head coach Brian Conley. “It gets us racing the fastest crews in the world, which tells us there is always more speed to be found. It also lets us see where we are in terms of our own competition. It’s a stepping point for us to start our year.”
Last season, the Men’s Collegiate Four finished in the top half of the field to guarantee entry into this year’s race. The crew placed 19th of 39 finishers with a time of 18:25.26.
Lehigh enjoyed a strong season in 2011-12 and looks to carry over the momentum, while continuing to improve, this coming year.
“This year, we raised our expectations as we always do,” said Conley. “The team is already where they were at the end of last year, which only means good things for us. We’ve also been learning a new style of rowing, so we’ve really gone back to basics and relearning how to move a boat, but the athletes have been responsive with making changes and holding those changes.”
This weekend begins a busy fall slate which includes the Head of the Schuylkill, Rutgers Fall Classic and Frostbite Regatta over the next three weekends.
“Our goals for the fall are always to learn as much as possible and get faster,” said Conley. “We know that winning in the fall sets us up well for the spring, but that we need to keep any momentum we get from racing and push harder to win in the spring.”
Conley and the coaching staff are excited about a strong freshmen and newcomer presence.
“Our recruiting class is one of the strongest Lehigh has had in years and they’re complimented by very large and talented walk-ons that have come out for the team,” said Conley. “We should expect another great season from the novice team, and to push the varsity as well.”
The Men’s Alumni Eight will race at 11:16 a.m. Saturday while the Collegiate Four will go at 3:40 p.m. The Women’s Championship Eight is set for 3:08 p.m. Sunday.
“The men will be looked to not only get in the top 50 percent of the competition but also finish higher than last year’s showing,” said Conley. “The women will be racing four crews that are made up of Olympic athletes from this past summer. We will also race a number of crews ranked in the top 25, so our goal is to attack early and see if we can get ourselves in a situation to really compete with these crews.”
Be sure to like Lehigh Rowing on Facebook and follow on Twitter for continued updates throughout the weekend.