‘Let’s turn this into a rowing school’ — Texas reacts to rowing national title

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SARASOTA, Fla. (KXAN) — The University of Texas rowing team won their first ever national championship Sunday in Sarasota, Florida.

The Longhorns finished tied with Stanford and Washington with 126 points, but earned the national title on a tiebreak by winning the First Varsity Eight grand final.

“There was no shortage of drama in the last race. I knew things had to align perfectly for us to win, but I made a conscious decision not to tell the first eight what was at stake,” Texas head coach Dave O’Neill said in a release. “I figured it was best to let them go out and do their thing, and that’s exactly what they did.” 

Texas’ win in the First Eight occurred a day after their semifinal race was delayed due to an equipment issue. The crew hit a log and lost their skeg during warmup. The group was not deterred, coming back to win their semifinal by 4.608 seconds. 

“I think the delay today worked in our favor a little in a couple of ways,” O’Neill noted. “First, our team always seems to rally when there’s some sort of chaos. Also, the support and send-off by the entire team were electric. It was one of the more amazing moments of team spirit I’ve been a part of.”

This is UT Athletics’ 58th national team championship (54 NCAA titles) in school history. It marked the third national title during the 2020-21 academic calendar year, joining Men’s Swimming and Diving and Women’s Tennis.

This marks the first time since 1989-90 (Men’s Swimming and Diving, Women’s Swimming and Diving and Women’s Indoor Track and Field) that Texas has claimed three NCAA team championships in one season.

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