SARASOTA, Fla. (April 8, 2018) – The Rollins men's rowing team entered two events at the 2018 FIRA Championships over the weekend, hosted at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The Tars Novice 4 took silver to highlight the Tars weekend of racing.
The Tars two events were at the end of the day and faced increasing winds and big water by the time they put their boat in. The goal getting to the starting line was to keep as much water out of the boat as possible; crews coming in from racing were dumping gallons of water from their boats.
This was the first time the line-up of Alyssa Rabade, Enzo Romano, Michael Pakuris, Connor Stolp and Cameron Boyd in the Varsity 4 and Landon Higginbotham, Romano, Pakuris, Stolp and Jonathan Taylor in the Novice 4 rowed together in competition, exciting the coaches to see what they could do.
The Novice 4 crew got off the line with the pack and Embry Riddle slowly gained an open water advantage by the 1000-meter mark. Rollins hung tough, handled the huge water and fought to hold on to second place. With 300 meters to go, Rollins found another gear, making the other boats look like they were standing still.
"When they went past me with 400 to go it looked like we a definite second." Said assistant men's coach Brandon Thompson. "When the other team members who were near the finish line told me we only lost by 2 seconds I could not believe it!"
Rollins had closed the open water gap and ran out of real estate.
"If there were another 10 strokes, who knows what could have happened," added Thompson.
The Men's Varsity 4 rowed immediately after the novice race and did not fare so well. Rollins finished seventh and unfortunately were never in the race.
Rollins has a weekend between regattas and will push forward as they have their eyes set on SIRA in Oak Ridge, Tennessee April 19-22.