Thirty years after the establishment of UNC-Chapel Hill’s rowing team, the women’s varsity team continues to call University Lake home, despite recent suggestions that the team should find a larger practice space.
Formerly owned by UNC-CH, University Lake, located in Carrboro, is now owned by the Orange Water and Sewer Authority. The lake serves as the town’s primary water supply and also where the university’s rowing team trains for eight months of the year.
Although the UNC-CH rowing team practice on University Lake all 156 days allowed by the NCAA, they host their races in various lakes, including in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
A regulation race for collegiate rowing is 2,000 meters, but University Lake offers a straight shot of only 1,000 meters, which means the Tar Heels have been working on a “slight turn.”
Recently, questions arose about whether the team should find a larger lake to practice on that stretches the length of a race.
The University decided to stay at their home for many years – University Lake. UNC-CH wanted to keep its team as close to campus as possible.
“University Lake is beautiful and so conveniently located,” said rower Steph Henrich, a UNC-CH junior. “All the girls on the team are happy to hear we are staying in Carrboro.”
Women’s varsity captain and UNC-CH junior Emily Leidolf said she really enjoyed being able to practice in Carrboro.
“Carrboro is a great place to train for our season,” she said. “Everyone there is so welcoming.”
The Michael Nicholls Crew Club Boathouse, located on the banks of University Lake, holds 14 hulls, which are the main body of the boats the rowing team uses in training.
Head coach Sarah Haney said she met with an architect late last week about building a new boathouse for the team.
“A refurbished boathouse with more hulls will really help bring our program to the next level,” she said.
University Lake accommodates several other UNC-CH teams, including the women’s novice team and the men’s club team, allowing for more than 100 UNC-CH athletes to practice what they love.
The lake also offers recreational hours on weekends from March 22 to Nov. 9.
“Training during recreational hours can get a little more hectic in the spring, but we are lucky to have access to the lake in the first place,” said rower Lucie Kloak, a UNC-CH sophomore.
Nineteen out of the 25 rowers from last year’s team returned for the 2014 season.
“Last year was definitely a building year for UNC,” Leidolf said. “We have more experience under our belt this year, and this team has speed and talent that Carolina has not seen in years.”
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Edited by Kathryn Trogdon and Jasmin Singh