Iowa rowing wins five races in the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge

The Hawkeyes hosted their sole home meet of the season at the Coralville Reservoir on Friday morning.


Braden Ernst

Row squads move 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

Iowa rowing notched five victories at the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge on Friday at the Coralville Reservoir. 

The Second Varsity Four and Third Varsity Four won two races each in the morning and afternoon sessions. The Hawkeyes’ First Novice Eight boat also notched a win against Minnesota in Iowa’s sole home meet of the season.

“Most importantly, our team stepped up and performed,” Hawkeye head coach Jeff Garbutt said. “We once again had strong performances from 3V4 and 1N8.”

Weather had a big impact in Friday’s challenge, as the Iowa, Southern California, Central Florida, Oregon State, and Minnesota boats dealt with tailwinds through wind and rain.

“I like to remind them that everyone is going through it,” Garbutt said. “We can’t control the weather. Living in Iowa, Mother Nature can be challenging sometimes for us. All we can do is control what we can control.”

The morning started with back-to-back third place finishes by the First Varsity Eight and Second Varsity Eight. Iowa’s First Varsity Eight was tied with second-place Central Florida before knocking into a no-wake buoy with 150 meters remaining.

“Our NCAA boat classes faced some challenges, but responded with a level of competitiveness that showed their Hawkeye pride,” Garbutt said. “We are excited where we are as a team and how we took another step in the right direction as we prep for the Big Ten Championships.”

Big Picture

The Hawkeyes battled through a lot of adversity in Friday morning’s meet, including constant rain and wind. 

Iowa also competed against stiff competition in No. 10 Southern California and No. 19 Oregon State. Central Florida and Minnesota also received votes in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll.

“There was a course issue with all the bad weather today along with some very stiff competition,” Garbutt said. “It speaks volumes to the adversity we can fight through as a team and it means a lot to me as a coach.”

Location changes

Originally, the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge was going to be on Lake MacBride, near Solon, Iowa. But the location was changed multiple times less than 24 hours before the event, and the Iowa rowing staff created a course from scratch at the Coralville Reservoir.

“Being able to move our race venue and create a new course from scratch in 24 hours was an incredible show of force by Iowa Athletics,” Garbutt said. “I am so proud to be a part of this team.” 

Up Next

The Hawkeyes will have a week off before heading to the Big Ten Rowing Championships in Indianapolis on May 15. The Hawkeyes will compete against seven other conference foes.

“Performance-wise, we rose to the occasion today,” Garbutt said. “Hopefully we can again perform at a high level in the Big Ten Championships.”