NEWPORT BEACH – On Saturday, the UCSB Crew team went to Newport Beach for the varsity women’s first and varsity men’s second regatta of the 2003fall season. The event also marked the first regatta of the new season for the men’s and women’s novice squads.

The UCSB rowing team is composed of around130 athletes, setting an intimidating standard for other university-level crew programs. The novice women, who make up almost half the team, sent out six boats in the 6K race. For many freshmen, Saturday’s race proved to be the first competitive contest of their careers.

“It was our first race and it was so exciting and nerve racking at the same time,” freshman novice coxswain Heather Lien said.

The novice women’s “B” boat took 14th place out of the 27 crews at the regatta, posting a time of20:06. The other five Santa Barbara boats finished closely behind.

“We could have done better, but that just gives us something to work on for next time; it was a great new experience,” junior novice rower Irene Ancheta said.

The novice men entered three crews, the “A” boat taking home 12th place of 20 with a time of 18:18.

“The novice teams did very well; this will be a promising year,” novice women’s Head Coach Robin Bader said.

The varsity men entered four boats into open-weight competitions and also entered one lightweight boat. The open-weight eight-rower “A” boat finished 14th with a time of 16:10.

The varsity women took out two boats, with the “A” and “B” boat finishing 8th and 18th, respectively, with times of 17:42 and 18:43.

“The ‘A’ crew’s time was very encouraging, as they were able to keep pace with several of the West Coast powerhouses. The ‘B’ crew also raced very well,” Rowing Program Director Mike Homes said.

“The regatta was a success, not only in the race, but in getting people racing,” Bader said.

The Gauchos will finish their fall season on Nov. 9 at the San Diego Crew Classics.