CLEMSON, S.C. – The 20th-ranked Duke rowing team set season-best times in the varsity eight, varsity four and second varsity eight on the first day of the Clemson Invitational on Lake Hartwell Saturday. Each of those three boats turned in finishes that ranked among the five fastest in Duke rowing history.
"The atmosphere at the race course was really intense today with such a large number of competitive programs," head coach Robyn Horner said. "Overall, the team raced more aggressively in the afternoon match ups. The varsity four had a very special performance in the afternoon session.
"We're looking forward to attacking our starts in the morning so we can get off the line with the competition. I thought we were a little slow off the line in both race groupings today."
Duke’s varsity eight claimed finishes of second place and fourth place in the morning and afternoon sessions and trailed only ranked teams in both races. The Blue Devil crew of Caroline Kiritsy (cox), Grace Cassidy, Claire Vannelli, Emily Theys, Katie Dukovich, Tara Dalton, Laura Sciarrino, Alex Stonehill and Hannah Hewitt set a season best with a time of 6:25.1 in the afternoon race, which ranked as the fifth best time by a Duke varsity eight in school history. That performance, which earned the Blue Devils a fourth-place finish behind No. 3 Virginia, No. 2 UCLA and No. 13 Michigan, followed a second-place showing in the morning session in which Duke posted a 6:37.3 to finish behind only No. 19 Cornell.
In the varsity four, Duke clocked fourth-place finishes in both races and shaved nearly 18 seconds off of their morning time with a mark of 7:20.1 in their afternoon race. The crew of Ashleigh Anne McKinney (cox), Dana Lerro, Rachel Wolsfelt, Karolina Wadolowska and Sydney Johnson finished behind only UCLA, Virginia and Michigan in the afternoon while defeating No. 19 Cornell, Oregon State and Oklahoma. Their time was the third fastest by a Duke V4 in the program’s 15-year history.