Starting off Saturday morning with the preliminary race for the Men’s Collegiate Varsity Cal Cup, the men’s Varsity Eight battled five other schools, including rivals Orange Coast College and Loyola Marymount University. The Anteaters got a slow start, but did not let the other schools gain any distance until the 1,000-meter mark. After the first thousand, OCC and Minnesota began to put distance between themselves and the other boats. Battling with LMU, UCI pulled ahead to ultimately beat LMU by 10.15 seconds, avenging its early season loss to the Lyons. UCI’s placing in the morning heat put it in the third-level final, where it fought Sacramento State, University of Southern California, San Diego State University and LMU. The Anteaters finished merely .47 seconds behind Sacramento State, putting them in second place.
“We had an amazing fight with Sacramento State,” said sixth seat Mike Ward.
The men’s junior varsity boat (JV) raced later in the day against rowing powerhouses such as Harvard and the University of Washington in its preliminary heat. With a 2,000-meter race time of six minutes and 36.51 seconds, the JV team advanced to the Petite Final Race, where its time lowered by 13 seconds to six minutes and 24.81 seconds, just 3.37 seconds behind long time rival OCC.
“We were competitive throughout the race. They didn’t walk through us,” said Jesse Angle of the JV boat.
In the start of the Men’s Collegiate Novice Race, the Anteaters pulled toward the front of the six boats in their heat. As the rowers settled into their pace, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of San Diego began to gain distance on the other boats.
Though the Anteaters remained competitive throughout the race, they placed fifth, just 2.94 seconds behind UCLA, preventing them from advancing to the finals.
“The outcome was not exactly what we had hoped for,” commented Nick Denney. “But we were close to the crews we were supposed to be close to. We showed that we have the ability to be competitive with those other crews.”
Overall, the Novice Eight rowed well. While its technique was shaky at times, the team improved its stroke from past races; its increased power gained from strenuous practices and additional workouts showed as the team powered down the course.
“Even though we aren’t the tallest or biggest guys, we have a fair amount of strength that we can capitalize on,” said Novice Sixth seat David Avila.
With regards to the team’s strengths, bow seat Ben Hise addsed, “All of us have a competitive drive that makes us want to be the best in our boat but also better than all of our competition.”
To prepare for their upcoming races, the Anteaters will continue to push hard during daily practices. The practices will continue to focus on endurance, power and technique, which all contribute to the boat’s final speed. Varsity men’s coach Scott Charette designed the demanding workout regime so the boats peak for their biggest race: the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, held in Sacramento the first weekend in May. In the next few weeks, the men hope to shave seconds off their time by gaining much-needed speed.
“We will get to where we need to be [at WIRA] by putting in the hours and the strokes,” Ward said. “We want to end our practices everyday knowing that we worked harder than those other crews.”
With the results from Crew Classic fresh in their memory, the rowers have a powerful desire and drive to take back the seconds other boats gained, and to increase the distance between them and the boats they passed. The rowers will race UCLA this coming weekend on their home water in Newport.
“We want to beat [UCLA] by more than they beat us,” Avila said.
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