The eight-meter shell's speed increases with the pull of both the starboard and portside. The shell cuts through the water with the machine-like efficiency of the stroke of the team.
Yet people outside the rowing community might not know or understand one of the most competitive women's sports at North Carolina.
People probably also do not know the outlook for this spring's team of rowers. UNC coach Joel Furtek said the team is "rowing better than we ever have been."
Furtek leads the North Carolina rowing team in his fourth year at the helm. His leadership is complimented by the team's nine seniors who have been with the rowing program since its inception.
"We've come full circle, and they know the whole process," Furtek said. "They remember when we didn't have anything. Their first day of rowing was our first day as a program essentially."
Robin Yamakawa, Laura Fogt, Erin Neppel and Dana Peirce exemplify the senior leadership that makes this boat run.
Yamakawa will lead the varsity eight in her third year as coxswain.The coxswain sits at the back of the shell, and she is virtually the point guard of the team.
"She's reading the flow of the game," said Furtek. "She knows who's hot, who's up, who's where, who's working too hard and knows when to make the move."
Peirce was a member of the U.S. Rowing Junior National team in 1996 and 1997. She picked up an NCAA bronze medal as part of the Tar Heels' four-meter shell in 1998.