The University of Rhode Island women’s rowing team started their season off by beating the University of Massachusetts Amherst in a sequence of races on Saturday.

URI swept away UMass in a series of four races. The Varsity 4+ boat finished three and a half seconds ahead of UMass, and the Varsity 8+ boats followed after coming in before UMass 1.1, 12 and 12.9 seconds ahead of them.

On Saturday the team put everything on the line with the potential coach Shelagh Donohoe knew the team had. “We learned a lot with the win,” Donohoe said. “Things that we can do better and things that we did well.”

As far as the rest of the season goes, Donohoe is expecting it to flow like Saturday did.

“We have a lot of speed compared to other schools,” Donohoe said. “We have a lot more to work on as we go forward. We can always work on our fitness level and start reaching our racing skill goals. We will get sharper.”

Rowing is different from other sports. During practice is when all the work is done, and when it comes to the races it’s all up to the women out there on the water to complete the race with a win.

“The girls are very disciplined in practice and it shows in the water,” Donohoe said. “If that continues the speed of the boat will increase, and that’s a hope for both the coaches and rowers.”

Between practices and races, the team feels they are headed in the right direction for a strong season.  The ultimate goal for Donohoe is to get the team faster and increase the boat speed, something that she believes is more than possible. Donohoe has high aspirations for the rowers as the 2016 season progresses

“We’re going to focus on our team, not other teams,” Donohoe said. “We have to work to improve us and our speed. I’m not sure what other teams are doing, but it’s all about preparing us and keeping our confidence up.”