By James Geerdes
The Iowa rowing season concluded at the end of May, and since then, a three-week hiatus from competition has left the Hawkeyes itching for a race, if not many.
Head coach Andrew Carter and his staff see that itch — and they are delivering. Iowa will compete against the top tier of rowers in the world in a nearly three-week trip to Europe — the home of the quickest rowing in the world.
“They had the week off after NCAAs, and they’re coming back, and they’re itching,” assistant coach Megan Fitzgerald said. “They’re ready to come back. They’re excited, they’re nervous.”
Excitement — as well as nerves — are plentiful among the rowers. Opportunities such as a European sortie are few and far between in the rowing community, but the recent success of the Iowa crews warrant the trip, Carter said.
“The trajectory of the program is something that deserves acknowledging,” he told Hawkeye Sports. “So, to do something extraordinary to reflect the extraordinary work that they’ve done is
Iowa embarks on June 22 for the Henley Women’s Regatta for a minimum of three races in England and Amsterdam. The Hawkeyes will compete until June 30. A brief break will be followed with the prestigious Henry Royal Regatta on the River Thames from July 4-8.
“This is an opportunity to educate our kids on the sport they are a part of and let them see that in other parts of the world, it’s the premier event of the summer,” Carter told Hawkeye Sports. “It’s one of the four big events that goes on in Britain. They have the Royal Ascot horse race, Wimbledon, the Open Championships, and Henley.”
Europe also offers a cultural experience for the Hawkeyes, but rowing will take precedence.
“We’ll have excursions, so there will be a cultural component to what we do,” Carter said. “But by and large, this is a focused, high-performance effort. We will be going against some of the best in the world.”
And the world will await the Hawkeyes. Iowa has quickly been gaining steam under Carter. Most recently, the Hawkeyes finished 11th at the NCAA Championships. That success, Carter said, can continue on to the world stage and play into future recruiting.
“We are now at a standard of performance where we can, with confidence, put our brand on the international stage, so that when prospects from outside of the U.S. are considering the United States for school, they can look at Iowa and understand that it is actually viable,” Carter said in a release. “They will be able to say, ‘I’ve watched them race and beat some crews, I had no idea it was that standard.’ ”