SARASOTA, Florida - In a heart-pounding storybook ending, Texas Longhorns Rowing are the 2021 NCAA National Champions. This is the first National Championship in Texas Rowing program history that started in 1997 and the third national title for The University of Texas in the 2020-2021 school year. Texas Swimming and Diving and Women's Tennis also earned national titles this year. Tennis just seven days prior.
The Grand Final race would decide the ultimate champion. Surprisingly Texas came in third place in the Grand Final in the Fours and II Eight giving No. 1 Texas 60 team points behind No. 2 Washington (66) and No. 3 Stanford (64). Going into the final race No. 1 Texas was in third place in points which meant winning was the only option.
“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,” said Texas head coach Dave O’Neill. “I figured it was best to let them go out and do their thing, and that’s exactly what they did.”
The race began after an almost two hour delay due to lightning in the area. During a race, there are checkpoints that allow analysis of who might win. At the 500m mark, No. 5 Michigan was slightly ahead of Washington, Stanford and Texas all within 10 feet of each other. Then Stanford took over just past midway in the race for the next 650m.
By 1500 meters, Texas had moved into second and everything changed. The race announcers with excitement broadcast those words every Texas Longhorn Rowing fan loves to hear that gets their heart pounding, "and Here Comes Texas!"
“When they started to move with 500 meters to go, I had a good feeling they were going to pull it off,” O’Neill said.
Watch from the water as Texas wins the NCAA National Championship and the celebration afterwards.