Armed with 125 athletes and a new head coach, the UCSB men’s and women’s rowing teams are gunning for better results in the upcoming season.

The Gauchos have brought in an exciting recruiting class and Head Coach Mike Homes in an effort to improve on last year. Santa Barbara will try to gain a place on the national stage.

Having just completed the fall season, UCSB now has four months of grueling training to prepare for the main season in the spring. The athletes know that their regimen is daunting but are confident that it will all pay off in March when the spring schedule comes into full swing.

“We have lots of training, which should be fun,” senior president Dustin Bingham said. “But we are very excited. This is one of the better teams that we’ve had in a few years. In the past, we haven’t had the rowers to compete in the way we wanted to. Now we have the numbers. It should be fun, but it’s a lot of training and a lot of pain.”

The men’s and women’s teams are divided into varsity and novice teams with the premise that first-year rowers can learn the basics, then contribute to the varsity starting their second year. The teams are further split into lightweight and heavyweight divisions. Each boat consists of eight rowers and one coxswain that steers the boat. UCSB hopes to place well enough in its conference to be able to compete on the East Coast in the national spotlight.

“We’ve had a really successful recruiting year,” Homes said. “It’s great to have over 100 kids. We’ve been pretty successful so far in the fall season. The goal is to do very well at the Western Collegiate Rowing Association Race, which isn’t until May. If we do well, we will be able to make it back east to the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. But that’s not till May. There’s a lot of work to do before then.”

So far, Homes is enjoying being a part of the UCSB program after coming over from Lafayette College.

“I’m so impressed with the students,” Homes said. “I couldn’t imagine a better group of kids, and as far as the other coaches, I couldn’t be happier. It’s nice that we have continuity with assistant coach Rick Brown, who was here last year. I’m excited.”

Homes admitted that rowing is truly a team sport where no one sticks out individually. But it is also a sport that emphasizes hard work and team camaraderie.

The team welcomes any new additions to the team, and encourages anyone interested to contact the coaches at (805) 893-3253.