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Iowa rowing heads to California with returning experience

Iowa rowing will use its returning experience against tough competition this weekend.

Stadium+staff+watches+the+growing+crowd+from+a+construction+area+in+the+north+end+zone+of+Kinnick+Stadium+before+a+football+game+against+Iowa+State+University+on+Saturday%2C+Sep.+8%2C+2018.
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Iowa rowing heads to California with returning experience

Stadium staff watches the growing crowd from a construction area in the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium before a football game against Iowa State University on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018.

Stadium staff watches the growing crowd from a construction area in the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium before a football game against Iowa State University on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018.

David Harmantas

Stadium staff watches the growing crowd from a construction area in the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium before a football game against Iowa State University on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Stadium staff watches the growing crowd from a construction area in the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium before a football game against Iowa State University on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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The Iowa rowing team ended last season in 11th place at the NCAA Championships — its highest finish in modern history.

Although Iowa is only returning one of its I Varsity Four boat in Kayla Jensen, 66 percent of last year’s I Varsity 8 boat will be in attendance this weekend as the Hawkeyes travel to the 2019 Pac 12 Invitational in Redwood Shores, California.

Among them are returning All-Americans Contessa Harold and Hunter Koenigsfeld. Harold believes the experience returning will help drive Iowa to push for more.

“The six that were in the boat last year, we saw what we can do, and we just want more,” Harold said. “We have high expectations. And some of the other girls who are in the boat or are trying to get into the boat, we hold them to a standard, but they also step up to the standard. I think we’ve all just told them what we expect and trust everyone. I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Harold is a dominant force in Iowa’s middle crew and looks forward to the adrenaline that race day brings and simply being back out on the river.

“I’m just excited for the intensity we always get — we always get super-excited on race days,” Harold said. “Even our coxswain, her voice just changes during the race. It’s different during practices, you just get that adrenaline going. I’m really excited to see how we do against other teams. It’s been a long time since we’ve been on the water, so I’m just really excited to get on water and see what we can do since it’s been such a long time.”

The Hawkeyes’ last event was the Head of the Charles on Oct. 20, 2018, and the team has put in the work during the offseason in preparation for this weekend.

Iowa will get its shot at No. 1 Cal, No. 3 Stanford, and No. 12 USC.

“The offseason, I think, we’ve mostly just been focusing on mental toughness,” Harold said. “We haven’t been able to get on the river much, so it’s just a lot of not giving ourselves excuses, not letting us give into other things we have going on. Just giving it our all for the two and a half hours we have each practice.”

Other returning starters include Hannah Greenlee, Katie Pearson, Logan Jones, and Eve Stewart.

In July 2018, Stewart earned a silver medal at the U23 World Rowing Championships. This season, she said, she looks forward to how the team matches up with the competition.

“We’ve had quite a hard year of it with the flooding and the freezing, so we’ve been putting in work all year inside and just doing our best,” Stewart said. “So I think it will be really nice to hopefully see results from that and just race. That’s what we do this for. With rowing, unlike other sports, we only get between five and 12 races a year to really do our thing. So [I’m excited for] just racing, getting out there seeing what the teams are like.”

Last year, the 1V8 and 1V4 boats both fell to Cal and Stanford before defeating USC.

The Hawkeye 1V8 boat will kick off the competition that begins at 11:20 a.m. on March 30 against USC.

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Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

Email: [email protected]
Sarah Altemeier is a sports reporter at The Daily Iowan. She is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in computer...

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