JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men's and women's rowing programs have one final test of the fall season - the Hatter Fall Rowing Rendezvous. Nearly 1,100 rowers from 28 clubs and teams, including 11 other collegiate programs, will make the trip to DeLand on Saturday for Stetson's yearly regatta.
The Dolphins are itching to compete again after inclement weather cancelled their events at the Head of the Hooch in Tennessee. The Hatter's fall race provides the Fins with a little more training and preparation before they enter their demanding spring season.
Seven boats are expected to compete for Head Coach Jim Mitchell's women's team – two varsity four crews, a freshmen eight, two varsity eight crews and two novice four crews.
"We are looking forward to racing this weekend," said Mitchell. "It was a bummer not racing last weekend due to the weather, but I think it should be pretty nice in DeLand this weekend. We are all excited to compete. The team has been working very hard this fall, and a lot of the work has been focused on developing our technical style and our culture as a team. We have seen positive developments in both of those areas, and look forward to see how it all translates into speed. This weekend marks the end of our fall training, and the shift into winter training where we will focus on the continuing build of strength and fitness. It will be a while before we see outside competition, so we want to make the best of this opportunity."
Head Coach Marci Robles and the men's program are sending six boats including two collegiate 8s, three collegiate 4s, and one novice four.
"I think the fall season is going well," said Robles. "The guys have been working really hard, and it's showing in the numbers that they're producing. We were really looking forward to racing at the Head of the Hooch, but Mother Nature had other plans. We're disappointed that we didn't get a chance to go up against the teams that were also there, but now we're shifting our focus toward our next phase of training. This weekend's race will be a good way to end the season and showcase the areas where we've improved as well as provide us with feedback on what we need to address going forward into the spring."
The women will be the first to maneuver Lake Beresford and the St. John's River in DeLand at 10 a.m. as JU's V4 boats take on Barry University, Embry-Riddle, FIT, Nova Southeastern, Rollins, Stetson and Florida. The men will have their first go at it in an 11:15 a.m. heat against Rollins, Florida and USF.
Following Saturday, both programs aren't scheduled to race again for nearly four months. The women's program returns to the water on March 28 at Alabama while the men kick-off their slate at the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association Spring Classic on April 3.