Virginia rowing swept almost every varsity event at the annual Rivanna Romp Sunday in Charlottesville. The team was victorious against a field that included Duke, Louisville, Minnesota, Navy and North Carolina in the Varsity 8+ and Varsity 4+ events.
The Cavaliers have historically performed very well at the Romp and, including this year, have won the last 17 Varsity Eight races and 14 of the last 16 competitions in the Varsity Four. The regatta was held in fall “head race” style in which boats started 10-15 seconds apart in a time trial format and raced down the 4,000-meter Rivanna Reservoir course.
The Cavaliers were coming off a strong performance Oct. 22 at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest regatta, in which they placed second among collegiate boats in the Championship 4+ event and fourth among collegiate boats in the Championship 8+.
In the Varsity 8+, Virginia finished first, second, sixth, seventh and 15th in a field of 24 boats. The A boat finished with a time of 12:52.9, 25 seconds ahead of Duke’s first eight, which came in third in 13:17.8.
The Varsity 4+ saw an interesting turn of events in which the Virginia B and C boats finished ahead of the A boat. Although the A boat was two seconds ahead of the C boat six minutes into the race, the C boat finished strong to finish with a time of 14:34.5, 0.2 seconds ahead of the A squad. The Cavaliers swept the top three places in the event, with their A, B and C boats. In addition, the D, E and F boats finished in 5th, 6th and 11th respectively among 29 boats.
In the Novice 8+ event, the Virginia A boat was outcompeted by Duke which finished with a time of 13:44.1, over 20 seconds ahead of the Cavaliers.
Overall, the meet was a successful end to the fall racing season for Virginia, as the team will now begin preparation for shorter 2,000-meter spring races.
“We’re so proud of how this team raced and performed, but more importantly, who this team is as a collective,” Virginia co-captains and seniors Kate Kelly and Beatrice Jones said after the race.
The team will look to uphold its standard of excellence in the spring, continuing a legacy that includes 13 consecutive ACC titles, and this performance in the fall gives confidence to the ability of the squad. If there is something to be concerned about, it is that the team did not face the strongest competition — only two schools, Duke and Navy, finished last ranked. However, the Cavaliers performed overall as a team that looked like they are capable of repeating as a top-10 finisher at the 2023 NCAA Rowing Championship, and, if the fall season is any indication of future success, will continue to excel in 2024.