Coach Putyrae Pleased With Progress Of Women's Rowers
MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - Despite losing the Fawley Cup, Gonzaga University head women's rowing coach Glenn Putyrae likes the direction his squad is headed.
For the record, Washington State University won all six races on a perfect day for racing Saturday at Silver Lake, including the Varsity 8+ match-up that is used to determine the Fawley Cup which went to the Cougars for the 19th time in 21 races. WSU's Varsity 8+ crossed the finish line in 6:32.39 with Gonzaga coming home in 6:37.89. The Cougars are currently ranked 13th in the USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Division I poll presented by Pocock Racing Shells.
Racing conditions were a 4 mph tailwind increasing to 7 mph on a bright and sunny day.
"We were really pleased with the way the crews were formed. They were all performing to the best we've seen them perform this year. To see them do that in a race was obviously very gratifying for our preparations as we go forward for the final three races of the season," said Putyrae.
The Bulldogs juggled all six line-ups Saturday.
"All of the line-ups were a little different than they were two weeks ago. Some out of some competitive stuff we've been doing and some because people come in and people go out. We feel we're getting closer to what we want to be seeing at the end of the season. We're not there yet," noted Putyrae, who returned in his second stint to coach the Zags this season after a 4-year hiatus at Georgetown University.
Putyrae coached Gonzaga from 1999-07 in his first go-round.
The Varsity 4+ and the Second Varsity 4+ caught the coach's eye Saturday. The Varsity 4+ fell to the Cougars 7:18.8 to 7:26.55, and the Second Varsity 4+ was just five seconds behind the Cougars, 7:38.84 to 7:43.01.
"The varsity four and the second varsity four really stood out today. They've had a lot of adversity over the past week, and to come out and race as tough as they did against some very strong Washington State crews was a great performance by them. They should be really proud of themselves," Putyrae said.
The Second Varsity 8+ was just four seconds behind the Cougars, 6:38.57 to 6:42.03 in the closest race of the morning.
With three weeks until the West Coast Conference and Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) championships, the Zags have a couple of tough races coming up to prepare them for championship weekend.
"Next week we get a chance to see where we really are in a seven-boat race in Sacramento. We know the course will be fair and there will be good competition. Hopefully, we can take what we did today and carry it forward as we go into the next set of races," Putyrae said. "After that we have Washington which is number two in the country and we know that is a going to be a really great test of where we are. If we have it figured out by then, the WCC's, which we know is going to be competitive, will hopefully be a positive race for us. If it is, then we know it will be close."
Putyrae said the coaches will continue to look at potential line-up changes over the next two weeks to make the boats faster entering the WCC and WIRA regattas.
"We're fortunate in that I think there are a lot of people who can make contributions in all of the boats. We're going to keep trying to figure out how to make our boats faster. If it means changing personnel, it means changing personnel. But we feel pretty good whatever changes we make are going to help all boats get faster," Putyrae said.
Overall, Putyrae likes the progress the squad has made since practice began last fall.
"The rowers have done a nice job of embracing the training and staying consistent with it, growing as rowers. They are getting to the point now where they are applying all the work they've done and seeing some positive results from it," he said.
Seven Bulldog seniors rowed in their final home regatta. Chelsea Quilling, Teddi McGuire, Paula Welly and Elise Perkins were each in the Zag Varsity 8+ boat, while Natalie Wolfrom and Olivia Miller rowed in the Second Varsity 8+ boat and Agatha Oleksiak was in the Varsity 4+ boat.
Second Varsity 4+ - WSU 7:38.84, GU 7:43.01
Novice 8+ - WSU 6:53.81, GFU 7:02.83
Varsity 8+ - WSU 6:32.39, GU 6:37.89
Second Varsity 8+ - WSU 6:38.57, GU 6:42.03
Varsity 4+ - WSU "A" 7:188, GU 7:26.55, WSU "B" 7:30.67
Second Novice 8+ - WSU "A" 7:11.17, GU 7:17.14, WSU "B" 7:26.24