Iowa to row against conference competition at Big Ten Invitational in Florida

The Hawkeyes will travel to Sarasota, Florida, for the second time this season as they compete in the Big Ten Invitational.


Braden Ernst

A 4-woman row squad rows on the Iowa River during an Iowa rowing practice on Monday, April 11, 2022. The rowing team competes in the Big Ten Invitational in Sarasota, Florida, on Friday and Saturday.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa rowing team will travel to Sarasota, Florida, this week to compete in the Big Ten Invitational. The event will be held at Nathan Benderson Park and hosted by the University of Wisconsin.

The last time the Hawkeyes were in Sarasota, they found success. Iowa’s First Varsity Four team won the grand finale of the Sunshine State Invitational on April 2. The Hawkeyes beat the Kansas State Wildcats by six seconds in that race.

“We had a good part of the roster pick up their first wins in rowing,” Iowa head coach Jeff Garbutt told after the Sunshine State Invitational. “Every boat got faster in the finals and really showed a new level of racing maturity.”

The Sunshine State Invitational’s grand finale served as the first win for Hawkeyes’ First Varsity Four team. Iowa’s First Varsity Four claimed Big Ten Boat of the Week honors on April 5 for its performance in the Sunshine State Invitational.

Last week, Iowa traveled to Las Vegas to row in the Pac-12 Invitational. Three of the Hawkeyes’ boats placed fourth in the event’s grand finale on April 10.

“I thought the first day we performed really well, our First Varsity Four and both Varsity Eight teams,” Garbutt said. “We did well against good competition. We had really good moments in the races.”

Iowa faced some stiff competition in Las Vegas, competing against the likes of Washington and Stanford. The Huskies and Cardinal are ranked fifth and eight, respectively, in the latest Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll.

“We can learn every day from things like this — win or lose,” Garbutt said. “It is always a positive, especially when facing stiff competition. We learned about intensity, focus, and teamwork after this weekend.”

The Hawkeyes have another weekend of stiff competition ahead of them, as two teams at the Big Ten Invitational are ranked in the CRCA top-20.

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Michigan and Indiana are No. 4 and No. 20 in the rankings, respectively, while Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa are in the receiving votes category.

“I am really excited to see the Big Ten this weekend, it is one of the toughest conferences in all sports including rowing,” Garbutt said. “Seeing all the Big Ten friends and foes will be a really good opportunity for us.”

The competition starts at 7:30 a.m. The Hawkeyes will bring along their full fleet, as the Second Novice Eight and Third Varsity Four will race for the first time this season, joining Iowa’s First and Second Varsity Eight, First and Second Varsity Four, and First Novice Eight.

Following the Big Ten Invitational, the Hawkeyes will return home to host two events on the Iowa River. Iowa will welcome Michigan State and Tulsa into town on April 23. On April 29, Wisconsin, Oregon State, UCF, USC, and Minnesota will travel to Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes’ two home events will serve as the regular season finale. The Big Ten Championship will be in Indianapolis on May 15.