March 14, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama Rowing team opens up the 2010 spring season Monday at 8:30 a.m. on the Black Warrior River against Kansas State. The two teams will battle over eight races spanning the course of approximately two hours.
"Kansas State is a well-established program and they go about things in a first-class manner," UA head coach Larry Davis said. "They have some very talented athletes on their roster and if we do well against them, I think it gives us a good barometer of how we'll do against a solid, established program."
Alabama also opened its home spring schedule with Kansas State last year, winning three of five races against the Wildcats.
"Their advantage is that they have maybe a little more depth and they're a more established program and our advantage is that we can get a little more water time early in the season than they do," Davis said. "Though that's not been as much the case this year."
Due to the recent rains and conditions on the river, the race course will be the reverse of the Crimson Tide's usual race-day setup with the starting line coming just to the east of River Road Park East while the finish line is set to the west, in line with the Crimson Tide's boathouse.
In addition to changing the Tide's meet-day setup, the abundance of rain this winter has altered Alabama's training regime, giving them less time to train on the Black Warrior, pushing them indoors to train.
"I think we got to where we wanted to be by the end of the fall and I was pleased by how we finished off," Davis said. "Since that time, due to some adverse weather conditions, we're a little bit behind because we haven't been able to spend nearly as much time on the water as we we'd like. Because of that, we're still putting together our lineup and deciding who will be in what boat."
Davis said the extra time inside has helped boost the Tide's conditioning, but hasn't allowed the squad to develop as much touch on the water as he'd like at this point in the year.
Fans will be able to watch the start from River Road Park East, located at the intersection of Jack Warner Parkway and McCorvey Drive. The finish line can be seen from River Road Park West and from the Tide's boathouse, located on the north side of the Black Warrior River.
The Crimson Tide is in its fourth season as an NCAA Division I program and has its first group of fourth-year seniors on this year's roster, a fact that can help the Tide as it finds its way early in this season.
"It's a little bit of a double-edged sword," Davis said of the experience his seniors have. "Our newcomers really don't know any different when it comes to training for the spring, while our upperclassmen are use to quite a bit more time on the water leading up to the spring season. But at the same time I'm hoping that the maturity our seniors bring to the table will help us through this rough patch."