With the season winding down, the men’s and women’s club rowing teams hope to sprint to the finish the way they did Saturday, when the women won and the men placed second in races held along the Southern California coast.
The women’s club took on San Diego and Chapman at Newport Beach, winning both varsity eight races, but placing third in the varsity four event. The novice team placed second in all three of its races.
“It was our last race going into league championships next week, so it was like a preparation race,” UCSB Women’s Head Coach Mike Homes said. “The varsity women won pretty convincingly, so we were pretty happy about that. Our novice women, although they didn’t win this race, they’ve certainly gotten a lot better as the season went on.”
The men’s club competed against USC and Loyola Marymount at Marina del Rey, placing second in every varsity race. The team’s most inspired moment came in the varsity eight, where the Gauchos fell to third for most of the race before sprinting ahead in the end to beat LMU by 1.2 seconds. Men’s Head Coach Derek Updegraff was pleased with his men’s effort.
“It was good in the sense that we were down by about a boat-length to LMU at the halfway mark, but we were able to pull it out,” Updegraff said. “We were able to really sprint to the finish.”
Both the men’s and women’s clubs will travel north next weekend to race in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship, which will be held in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The women’s club will be seeded fifth, while the men’s club expects to be seeded somewhere in the lower half of the top 10. The two-day event will feature over 20 schools, all with varsity eight and four teams and novice clubs. There will also be a lightweight division, where the women’s team will be ranked first. Homes is excited about the team’s prospects in the race.
“Everything has been building to this for the whole season,” Homes said. “I think it’s been a pretty good season overall.”
Updegraff is confident his men can also give a top performance.
“I think both the women and the men should do very well,” Updegraff said.