May 16, 2017
The University of Notre Dame rowing team has earned an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Rowing Championships at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey. The regatta will begin on Friday, May 26, and wrap up on Sunday, May 28.
The Irish return to the championship meet for the ninth time in program history and fifth time in the last six seasons. The First Varsity Eight is seeded 13th in the field, the Second Varsity Eight 14th and the First Varsity Four 17th.
“We are obviously very excited,” Irish head coach Martin Stone said after the at-large bid was announced via live video stream on NCAA.com.
“We felt there were quite a few teams deserving of an at-large bid this season. We put together a very good conference regatta. Duke, Syracuse and Virginia had very good seasons which helped our strength of schedule and the overall speed of the conference.
“A year ago we didn’t get a bid and we sat down and developed a plan to get back into the national championship regatta. There were some moments of doubt early in the year but the team stuck to the process and believed in what we were doing.
“The best thing about the bid is that we get to continue to spend another two weeks together, grow and get to know each other even more. We get to spend two more weeks with great people.”
Part of Coach Stone’s plan this year was to face a challenging schedule, possibly the most challenging schedule in the nation. The Irish competed against 10 different teams that make up the 22-team NCAA Championship field this season, including facing Michigan and Virginia multiple times. Notre Dame capped the season by finishing third in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (which sent three teams to the NCAA regatta for the second consecutive season), an effort that included a win over Syracuse in the First Varsity Eight.
Notre Dame has made eight previous trips to the NCAA Championship regatta, starting with the team’s first appearance in 2002 (the championship was started in 1997) and all coming under head coach Martin Stone. The Irish have finished as high as ninth overall as a team (2014, 2006), while the Varsity Four’s eighth overall finish in 2012 marks the high point for a single boat in the competition.