K-State rowing begins season in Oklahoma City

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The women of the varsity rowing team watch themselves in mirrors above and to the sides of the practice tanks during practice in the tank room on Feb. 13, 2013. (Archive photo by Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State rowing team will travel to Oklahoma City on Saturday for their first competition of the season at the Head of the Oklahoma regatta.

Head coach Patrick Sweeney has led the Wildcat rowing team for 15 years. The team became an NCAA Division I sport in the 1996 – 1997 season. Jenny Hale was the first head coach during that school year.

The rowing team is made up of 35 women and capped off by three seniors: Samantha Bendrick, Marissa Butrum and Laura Clement. The team is rounded out by 15 juniors, 16 sophomores and one freshman.

Under the leadership of Coach Sweeney, the Wildcats finished second in the Big 12 and third in the Conference USA Championship in the 2013 – 2014 season.

For the 2017 – 2018 season, the Wildcats have two former K-State rowers, Noelle Dykmann and Kayla Brock, as an assistant coach and a graduate assistant, respectively.

During her tenure with K-State as an athlete, Dykmann was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year after the 2014 season. At the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship, she brought home four gold medals.

“I’m excited for this opportunity, because when I was going through the program, the coaches had a huge impact on me,” Dykmann said to K-State Sports. “The program had a huge impact on my life and I want to give back to the program that built me into the person that I am today.”

Brock had much success while she was an athlete. She was a four-year letter winner and served as a rowing team captain.

“Rowing has been part of my life for five years,” Brock said to K-State Sports. “It has given me a lot of confidence and courage and I think it has built my character a lot. I am excited to be on the other side of it and I hope to give back to kids in Kansas and other places who come here and give to them what the program gave to me.”

K-State was the second school in the Big 12 conference to name women’s rowing as a varsity sport. In 2015, three more conference schools were added to this list: the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas and West Virginia University.

The Wildcats’ next rowing competition after the Head of the Oklahoma is the Jayhawk Jamboree in Lawrence on Oct. 22.

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