PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY TEXAS ATHLETICS
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PENNSAUKEN, N.J. – No. 2 Rowing opened the 2023 NCAA Rowing Championships with a sweep of three races at Cooper River Park on Friday morning to advance all boats to Saturday’s A/B semifinals.
Texas swept the opening round heats of the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive year and had all three boats place in the top-two for the sixth-straight championship.
“Day one is complete, and we did what we were looking to do,” said Texas head coach Dave O’Neill. “These three days can be a real grind, so it was good to have all boats race in control and win their heats. Tomorrow will be a big day, so we need to be prepared for what’s ahead.”
The Texas I Eight kicked off the national regatta with a boat-length victory in the second Division I race of the day. Syracuse opened an early lead and held a slight edge after the first 250 meters of the 2,000-meter course, but Texas quickly gained the advantage and crossed the 500-meter mark about one-quarter second ahead of the Orange. UT built upon the lead from there, slowly pulling away from the rest of the field over the final 1500-meters and crossing the line in 6:28.340, followed by Michigan (6:32.520) in second with Syracuse (6:37.260) placing third.
Next up, the Texas II Eight battled Pennsylvania through the early portion of the race but took control of the by the midway mark. Much like the I Eight race before it, Texas was ahead by just under a half-second after the first quarter of the race but put picked up the pace over the next 500 meters, holding a half-length lead at 750 meters and pushing it to a full boat length at 1000 meters. The Longhorns held steady through the close of the race, winning in 6:40.964, followed by Pennsylvania in 6:44.428 and Virginia in 6:45.574.
Texas’ Four, the top-seed in the event, put their stamp on the morning session with an open-water victory. California went out fast and was in front at 500 meters. UT found another gear and moved ahead of the Bears by 750 meters and pushed the lead to open water over the next 500 meters. Texas closed out the win in 7:25.980 with two boat lengths over open water separating them from the rest of the field. California finished as the runner-up in 7:35.036 and Duke crossed the line in 7:40.510 to close out the top-three.
The NCAA Championships will resume on Saturday, May 27, with the I Eight A/B semifinals getting underway at 7:36 a.m. CT (8:36 a.m. ET), followed by the II Eight races at 8:24 a.m. CT (9:24 a.m. ET) and the Four at 9:12 a.m. CT (10:12 a.m. ET).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS (Day One)
I Eight – Heat 2 Results
1. TEXAS – 6:28.340
2. Michigan – 6:32.52
3. Syracuse – 6:37.260
4. Duke – 6:43.130
5. Northeastern – 6:49.790
II Eight – Heat 3 Results
1. TEXAS – 6:40.964
2. Pennsylvania – 6:44.428
3. Virginia – 6:45.574
4. Syracuse – 7:03.182
5. George Washington – 7:21.244
6. Jacksonville – 7:31.150
Four – Heat 1 Results
1. TEXAS – 7:25.980
2. California – 7:35.036
3. Duke – 7:40.510
4. Rutgers – 7:42.334
5. Indiana – 7:50.144