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Crew team sweeps at Rivanna Regatta

The Virginia women's crew team literally blew their competition out the water this weekend, winning all four events at the regatta they hosted on the Rivanna Reservoir.

Over 250 rowers from six teams came to the Cavalier boathouse to compete in Sunday's "Rivanna Romp." All of the Cavaliers' ACC opponents -- North Carolina, Duke and Clemson -- attended, as well as teams from the University of Miami, Georgetown and Ohio State.

Rowers competed in four different events on the four-kilometer course. The regatta began with a competitive race between the varsity eights. OSU's first varsity eight was close but got no cigar, finishing 9.5 seconds behind Virginia's first varsity eight. The Cavalier boat championed in this 16-boat field with a time of 14.01.1. Miami's first eight finished third with 14:25.5.

Varsity eight coxswain Sarah Brennan and rower Sara Garrett said the wind was their greatest challenge during the race.

"It tossed us around quite a bit," Brennan said. "One thing we could work on is more control in the wind ... pushing the wind back when it pushes us."

Garrett also said their boat had a strong and powerful race.

Virginia's second, third and fourth varsity eights also made some wakes of their own. Virginia's second eight finished sixth after being forced to the outside of a turn that they were well set up for when Clemson's first eight crabbed early in the race. But this allowed only one boat, the third Virginia eight, to walk through the second Virginia eight. The second Cavalier eight finished with a time of 14:30.0.

Virginia's third and fourth eights finished fourth and seventh, respectively, with times of 14:25.9 and 14:47.8.

The race between the varsity fours also was competitive, but most of the competition that faced the winning Virginia boat was presented by another Virginia four. The second varsity four finished ahead of the first varsity four by a mere 0.7 seconds.

The third Virginia four finished fourth behind Ohio State's first four, with times of 15:16.3 and 15:30.4. The Cavaliers' third four, however, still finished ahead of the 13 remaining boats in the race, including 12 first and second fours.

Cavalier Coach Kevin Sauer said these results show the depth and strength within the team.

Virginia made another showing in the race between the novice eights. In the nine-boat field, the first novice eight finished with a whopping 28-second lead. The nearest boat was the second novice eight, finishing with a time of 15:21.0. Third place was Clemson, finishing 32.5 seconds behind second place. Virginia's third novice fifth was eighth at 16:28.0.

Virginia novice Coach Lou O'Brien Berl said he was thrilled with the novices' performances.

"I'm pumped ... totally pumped!" Berl said.

In the pairs' race, the Cavaliers secured yet another victory. Two Virginia pairs finished first and fourth in a seven-boat field, completing the Cavalier sweep.

"We really are going to be right up there in contention for the team title at the NCAAs in the spring," said Captain Emily Egge about Virginia's victory-filled day of racing.

Sauer also said that he was pleased with the results.

"Anytime you win all [four] of the events you gotta be pleased," he said. "We're out to have fun and kick butt, but we respect our opponents and let our oars do the talking"