The UCSB men’s and women’s club rowing teams are in full swing and the players are looking to take control in the West Coast in what co-head coach for the men’s team Nathan Swift hopes will be a “peak season.”
Swift and Sarah Dreger are welcoming back several returnees on both teams. Dreger is the co-head coach for both teams, and leads the women’s squad. Returnees for the women include Robin Bader, Alison Greene and Emily Ahn, among others. Brian Ralston, Steve Daner, Jordan Fong and Dustin Bingham, along with coxswain Jennifer Pence will be some of the rowers gracing the waters again this season for the men. Matt Sullivant, Jesse Ledick and Jon Carnwath are three other returnees who took last season off.
“I am looking forward to going to our East Coast regattas where there is greater competition to challenge our team,” Dustin Bingham said. Bingham was positioned in the stroke seat of the men’s varsity lightweight eight last year.
The women’s squad is currently preparing for the Head of the Charles, a regatta held in Boston, Massachusetts on Oct. 20.
“We are taking an open weight four and a lightweight eight, and we are eager to show the East Coast what West Coast rowing is all about,” fourth-year veteran Alison Greene said.
The men’s team is looking for a win at the Head of the America in Sacramento on Oct. 27. Both squads practice six days a week, starting at 6 a.m. near Lake Cachuma.
The Gauchos have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to build upon their successful 2000-2001 season. At last year’s Pacific Coast Rowing Championships, the women’s novice lightweight four captured 1st place in their division. All the rowers of that boat are returning.
“I expect to have a successful spring season with a lot of our novice women returning,” Greene said. “We are young, but fast.”
The 13th nationally ranked men’s varsity lightweight eight took 2nd last season in their league, the Western International Rowing Association. Santa Barbara also took 3rd place at the Dad Vails, an extremely competitive regatta on the East Coast.
This year, Swift would like to concentrate on a heavyweight men’s team as well as a lightweight team. In the past the team has consisted of mostly lightweight contenders. Swift would also like a first place finish at the Dad Vails, a trip to the IRA National Finals on the East Coast, a higher national ranking, and “most importantly, we are going to try to be the fastest men’s lightweight eight on the whole West Coast,” Swift said.