Catching Up With Coaches Wendy Davis and Andy Foltz

Go Gophers! The Gophers host Wisconsin on Sunday at Lake Phalen
Go Gophers!
The Gophers host Wisconsin on Sunday at Lake Phalen
Go Gophers!

April 24, 2012

Head Coach Wendy Davis

What can fans expect from the Regatta this Sunday?
“We are going to start at 9:00am and the races will run every 15 minutes. We will start with the 2nd Novice 8+ and work our way up. The last race will be the 1st Varsity 8+. It’s a nice venue to watch at (Lake Phalen), you can see almost all the course from start to finish. If anybody is adventuresome and active they can bring their bike to see from start to finish; there is a bike path that runs around the lake.”

Coming off the strong finish at the Virginia Invitational against tough competition, does that boost the girl’s confidence?
“I think it does. Our 1st Varsity 8+ had a rough outing but everyone else did a really nice job. I do think we are looking forward to racing Wisconsin, they’re very fast but we’re coming in strong and want to see what we can do. It is really fun because since we’ve moved the BigTen Championships, we’re now able to have a home and home with Wisconsin and that has never happened in the history of rowing. This is year two of finally being able to have a really neat event with the badgers.”

What are a few of your goals for Sunday’s regatta?
“Every time you go out to race you want to say, ‘this is who we are’ and especially for our first boat, they are now pretty battle heartened. They can’t allow themselves to be taken out of their element if something goes wrong. That is when you have to say no; this is me, this is what I can do. That is what I’m looking for in the varsity races and as coaches as we watch the race unfold we can say, ‘yeah, that’s my team’.”

This is the last invite before the Big Ten Championships. What does that mean for the team?
“As far as our NCAA rankings, it matters for both programs, but for Big Ten’s it’s a final only so it’s seven boats across. It is only the second year this has happened but this is just the final push before we go into final exams and gear up for the Big Ten Championships. It’s great timing to come out and get the guns blazing and see what happens!”


 

 

Does hosting this invite give the team an advantage?
“It always helps to host and I think the athletes are more relaxed when they’re at home. They (Wisconsin) are an excellent program. They will have a lot of their fans here and we will have all of our fans here, so it is going to be a neat atmosphere all around.”


Assistant Coach Andy Foltz

Main focus: the Novice- the first year rowers who came in September with no experience, all walk-ons. He teaches them how to row and how to race. (Only sport in the NCAA that has freshman racing against other freshman).

How big of a race is this for the Novice?
“A lot of the girls are from Wisconsin and a lot of them are from Madison. It is pretty big; they have been talking about this for a while. It’s on our goal sheet to beat Wisconsin so I would say it’s big. We are kind of training through it with Big Ten’s in three weeks. They are going to be tired and we know that Wisconsin is training through it as well so it’ll be good to see who can race with that.”

What are their views of the Big Ten Championships approaching?
“After we race Wisconsin we will have raced every Novice program (except for Michigan) in the Big Ten so we’ll have an idea of our relative speed. At the same time, we were beat by Ohio State at the double dual but that was only in our second race. The girls have full confidence that they can beat Wisconsin, along with everybody else we’ve raced in the Big Ten that we have been able to come out on top. We race to race.”

Is there a specific time or goal the Novice looks to reach on Sunday?
“The 1st Novice 8+ has really been trying over the past several weeks to break the 7 minute mark. For them to be able to be competitive with Wisconsin and looking at the times over the season, we will have to break that and be fairly close to 6:50. If each person just works to get 2 more inches every other stroke to be able to push behind them, we did the math and it is well under that 7 minute mark.”

What is the energy like leading up to this home ragatta?
“Right now I think the girls might be really tired. Over the course of the last three weekends, they have gone to San Diego, Bloomington, IL and Virginia. That 1st Novice 8+ is really tired. I would imagine they are very excited; a lot of their parents are coming so I would think the energy will get pretty high.”

Athletic Communications Intern Kelly Kleine