Women’s rowing team paddles its way to SIRA Championship victory

Staff Reporter

Most people would never think to go near water outside a hot tub with the cold snaps this spring.

The Wichita State rowing team wasn’t been phased. The Women’s Varsity 8+ team won a championship title after taking first place at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships last week.

The team had the best time in their event at the SIRA Championships in Oakridge, Tenn. They clocked in at 6:56.0 in the final race.

Emory University took second place with a time of 6:59.1, and the University of Florida came in at the third with 7:04.9.

The WSU women were confident of the win before they even got in the boat. Women’s coxswain Ashley Brown said they knew what they needed to do to earn respect from other schools.

“If we could get ahead by about 25 strokes we knew we could hold it the rest of the way,” said Brown.

As coxswain, it was Brown’s job to steer the shell and make adjustments accordingly during the race by knowing which school was in what lane beforehand.

“I can’t explain how proud I was of all the girls that were in the boat,” said Brown.

The Men’s Varsity 8+ team took second place on their final run of the championship to post an overall time of 6:19.8 for the event, finishing in 14th place.

The Men’s Varsity 4+ team didn’t finish high enough to advance to the semi-finals.

The Championship has grown into a competition for more than just southern schools, as it was previously, according to coach Calvin Cupp. Teams competing at this year’s event were from Notre Dame, UC San Diego, Delaware and others from across the nation.

Cupp called the SIRA Championship “one of the big early spring competitions.”

The WSU team trains outside on the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers whenever possible, but have 60 rowing machines to use in the Heskett Center when it is not. Team members train diligently to get a good balance of strength, cardiovascular, and technique required to be successful in 2000-meter races.

“They’re out there a lot more than people think,” said Cupp.

The rowing teams next event is at the Sunflower State Championships in Manhattan, Kan. on May 18.