With one week to go until they leave for the NCAA Championship, the Virginia rowing team is using their time to try and get even faster before their final races of the season.
"It's a lot of practice," senior Sarah Jordan of the week leading up to NCAAs. "I think we were really set to just go off of ACCs and do our thing, but of course the coaches want us to make sure that we are still gaining speed and not sitting back at all, so as of today it's gotten a lot tougher again."
The Cavaliers are coming off their fifth consecutive conference title. They finished 13 points ahead of conference newcomers Notre Dame and 19 points ahead of Syracuse at the ACC Championships, but the 'Hoos say that having new and tougher competition will help prepare them for NCAAs.
"Every team races differently," said senior Brandy Herald. "Some people focus on the beginning or the middle or the end, and having two more really competitive teams like Notre Dame and Syracuse added on to Clemson and all the other ACC teams gives you more to think about and more to approach. It's just a better way to prep for NCAAs."
With the win at the ACC Championship, the 'Hoos clinched an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship, which runs from May 30-June 1 on Eagle Creek Park Lake in Indianapolis.
UVa is seeded No. 7 in the Varsity Eight, No. 4 in the Second Varsity Eight and No. 2 in the Varsity Four for the championships.
After winning the national team title in 2012, UVa placed fifth last season. It was the seventh consecutive season the 'Hoos finished in the top six at the national regatta, but they are motivated by that finish to come back even stronger this year against a tough set of teams.
"The PAC-12 conference is going to have a lot of people in, so I think maybe they're feeling a little bit more confident coming off their conference," Jordan said. "They're really keeping us humble and on our toes, and they're throwing us out there trying to mix up lineups and see what we're doing to see if we're as fast as we can be."