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Pause at the Release: Dana Urbanek

Dana Urbanek
Dana Urbanek
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April 11, 2011

Tulsa, Okla. -
Pause at the Release is our periodic feature in which we highlight the perspective of one of our student-athletes. In these articles, the athletes share their personal experiences as part of the Golden Hurricane team with our wonderful supporters and community members. Here, you'll find the backstage story on TU Women's Rowing, told through the eyes of the athletes themselves. Check back often to see updates from more of your favorite rowers and coxswains.

Dana Urbanek on Racing at the San Diego Crew Classic
Being in San Diego with your teammates is a great feeling. There is no other team that I would want to be running along the beaches, looking at the clear water, and having sand between my toes with. My team is my family and to experience California with your family is amazing. Looking out a plane window and seeing mountains with snow and relaxing your muscles in the water is great, but doing it with your family makes it a completely new experience. We laughed, smiled, ate and had some great times. Eating frozen yogurt, making jokes, and bonding in the California sun was wonderful. However, we were there for something bigger, we were there to race, and that is just what we did!

Racing in San Diego in the Crew Classic is a huge experience that I am very grateful to have. Being in the V8 with women who are just as competitive as I am is a feeling that cannot be described. Our heat in the Cal Cup was an aggressive race. I remember coming off that starting line looking across the playing field and seeing my boat down. I took a deep breath and told my rowers to "sit up, relax, and be confident, we are going to do this" within the first 20 stokes I knew my rowers were pushing Tulsa's bow ball ahead. It was a tight race. I had adrenaline running through my veins the whole time. As we crossed the last 500m I knew deep down there was nothing stopping the eight girls in front of me from wining that heat, and we did! As exciting and aggressive as the heat was I was ready to turn my boat around and head back to the start to race our final!



We got off the water talked as a team and went to look at the results of the other heats. Comparing our time to the others, I knew this final was going to be tough. I remember sitting at dinner watching the Pacific Coast sunset talking about our final and how tight of a race it was going to be. I was ready to race Sac State, Kansas State, Georgetown, Stanford LW and Alabama. That night I could not sleep, I was so anxious. Then race day came, I saw my rowers in the hotel lobby, they were ready and I knew this was it.

We launched our boat from the beach, putting our feet in the Mission Bay just as every other crew did. We had a great warm-up to the starting line, the boat was moving well and the rowers were relaxed even though they were so fired up. As we rowed up to the starting line we saw the wonderful shoreline and mountains. Behind us at the start was the San Diego Sea World and people from the cable cars were wishing us luck. We backed our boat into the starting platform.

Then the race began! Off the start, we were down but we were moving. I remember looking across to my port and my starboard side every other stroke to watch the race. The left side of the race was moving faster and we were pushing out with them, seat for seat, stroke for stroke we started walking down. About halfway through the race Alabama made a huge move. We countered and fought every stroke, inching ourselves back into them was a fight. At about the 450 meter mark left, I knew it was time to GO! I called our sprint and we were fighting Kansas State on our port side and Alabama on our starboard side. It was tight, seat for seat, stroke for stroke. Those girls were just not backing down but neither were we, we stepped it up. We inched in but we just could not catch them. Crossing that finish line 1.2 seconds behind 1st place Alabama was one of the worst and greatest feelings ever. It was great because it was a solid race, fast and aggressive, and everyone gave it everything from stroke seat to bow. Although it was exciting it was heart breaking, knowing we just lost by 1.2 of a second eats away at you. You think about it every stroke, every run you go on, every day. There are no words that can express how much losing by 1.2 seconds to Alabama or any team feels. It is something that is on your mind 24/7 until you race them again.

Tulsa's V8 will see Alabama in Oak Ridge, Tenn. this weekend. Racing them at SIRA is a huge deal for me personally and the whole V8 is excited to rematch and race them again. We are so pumped and ready to put everything on the line again. There are no words that can explain the feeling you get when you lose to a team by 1.2 seconds and in two weeks, you get to race them again. We are ready to race them and bring everything! Explaining the feeling is like something eating away at you and your ready to fight it and go after it, but this feeling is within me until SIRA. When I line up against all the boats at SIRA at the start, it will be time to play and show them what Tulsa is all about.

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Contact Natasha Ostopovich at natasha-ostopovich@utulsa.edu