TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The youngest team on the University of Alabama’s varsity roster gets season two underway Saturday on the Tennessee river.
The Crimson Tide rowing team, which started NCAA competition as year ago, opens this season at the 15th Annual Chattanooga Headrace with the first race getting started at 9 a.m.
“We’re still pretty young and we may, in terms of experience in the sport of rowing, be a little younger than we were last year,” Alabama head coach Larry Davis said. “Last year’s rookies, who now have two semesters of rowing experience, are a significant part of our varsity boats right now.”
This season, Alabama will compete three varsity boats, both eights and fours and three novice boats, eights and fours. That is a testament to the depth the Tide enjoys this season as opposed its inaugural outing a year ago.
“Comparing our times to last season at this time, we’re seeing times now that we didn’t see until the spring last year,” Davis said. “That’s very encouraging as we move forward.’
One of the measuring sticks this season will be how much the Tide has gained on other, more established programs, such as the University of Tennessee, which advanced to the NCAA Championships last season.
“A year ago, we were more than a minute behind Tennessee’s A’ boat,” Davis said. “This weekend we’re looking forward to seeing if we can cut into that some.”
As a first year program, Alabama earned a pair of bronze medal finishes at this regatta in 2006.