Written by Student Assistant McKenna Morin
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team turned the dial up on its work and training in an effort to replicate last season's success, opening the spring on Saturday by hosting the PLU Invitational.
Last year, the Lutes won their first Northwest Conference title and went on to take fourth at the NCAA Division III Championships. This year, the women are looking to improve and make a return trip to nationals.
With 19 first years on the squad, the team has increased in size from last season. This increase helped the team prepare and train harder in the fall.
"Fall and winter were great. Our training period was very busy because we had a huge incoming first year class, and then kept up our individual workouts to stay in shape," said sophomore Siobhan Warmer.
While their numbers as a whole increased, many of the rowers studied away in the fall or during j-term in January. Warmer was one of those taking advantage of international opportunities.
"I spent J-term in England for a Tudor England history class," she said. "It was an incredible experience."
However Warmer did not let this experience affect her training.
"I chose to study away during offseason so I would not miss the rowing season, I do not think it has had any negative effect on my training or the team. Quite a few of us studied away in the fall or over j-term, but those students know that they will come back and work hard to get caught up."
"Being a part of rowing hasn't stopped any of us from being able to study abroad." Warmer highlighted that the importance of studying away isn't just personal.
"It benefits our team by bringing in different perspectives, which makes our team more inclusive," she said. "I think that is a great part of being DIII because we are able to study away and have these other activities outside of our sport."
Now that the team is back on campus and solidly into their first month of practice, the women can see their goals aligning and how close they are to achieving them.
"We are focusing this season on getting in more time and strokes on the water," Warmer said. "We have some big team goals for this spring."
After being titled fourth in the DIII nation last year, the team has its sight set on a title a little higher.
"Last year, we placed fourth at nationals so this year our goal is to place higher than that," Warmer said.
These women have studied, trained, and traveled and now they are ready to take on the water in a new way to help them achieve their goals.
Saturday's regatta begins at 9 a.m. with the Lutes racing Western Washington University, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, and NWC rival University of Puget Sound.