Temple men's varsity eight reaches Dad Vail semifinals the hard way

Posted: May 08, 2010

You can't afford to underestimate your opposition - even if you're as talented as the Temple men's crew team's varsity eight.

The Owls' varsity eight, seeded second behind favorite Florida Tech, came into the 72nd edition of the Dad Vail Regatta yesterday with aspirations of capturing the program's first gold since 2004.

However, despite posting the third-fastest time of any men's varsity eight boat in the morning qualifiers, Temple (5:47.512) finished behind surprising Delaware (5:41.988) and Brock (5:44.390) in its heat and was forced to gain its way into today's semifinals (projected race time 10 a.m.) by winning its repechage later in the afternoon.

"We were pretty surprised that the other two teams were that quick," said Temple men's crew coach Gavin White, who holds a Dad Vail-record 19 men's varsity eight titles. "We rowed a 5:47, but it wasn't fast enough despite being the third fastest time of the day. The other two teams just performed better. I was disappointed not making it through the first round. However, we got through the reps pretty easily. I don't think it hurt us that much.

"It may turn out to be a good thing. It may turn out to be a wake-up call for these guys."

Patrick Curran, the Owls' senior stroke, was disappointed in his team's initial failure. But, like his coach, Curran believes that the lack of success may turn out to be a positive in the long run.

"Hopefully, we got our bad race out of the way and we can just get ready for the semis," Curran said. "I don't want to say we underestimated the other boats, but we've got to treat every race like it's the final."

Always a realist, White still holds firm his initial conviction that his team can pull it together and win him his 20th championship.

"I'm not naive enough to think we can't be beaten," he said. "But I'm confident that with a little wake-up call, I still believe we're capable of winning this thing."

Temple's semifinal race will include Delaware and La Salle. The Owls will start in lane one. The top two finishers in the race will advance to the six-boat final (projected 3:20 p.m. start).

Note that today's start times have been modified because of a forecast of high winds.

Drexel women advance

Behind its star stern pair of Candice Webb and Dana Haneman, the Drexel women's varsity eight also finished with the third fastest time of the day. However, that time - 6:47.950 - was good enough to give the fifth-seeded Dragons a victory in their qualifying heat.

"They were the top seed going into their heat," Drexel rowing coach Paul Savell said. "And they rowed like one."

Drexel will compete in the semifinals at 9:45 a.m. against Vermont, North Carolina, Buffalo, Fordham and Ohio State.

The women's varsity eight final is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. *

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