Cal men’s and women’s crew both had successful outings at the Las Vegas Invitational and the California Challenge Cup. The Bears almost swept the entire weekend’s competitions, with only two close losses for the men’s team against UCSD.
The men’s team split into two regattas to participate in both the Las Vegas Invitational and the California Challenge.
The first regatta, with the team’s top three boats, set off for Las Vegas and proceeded to sweep the entire event. The Bears won races for their first varsity 8+, 2V 8+ and 3V 8+ and even raced against each other Saturday morning.
The Bears reached the finish line before their competition with substantial leads, as their closest time gap was against themselves in the 2V 8+ and 3V 8+ races.
In the V 8+ race against Colgate, Cal finished with a time of 5:45.63, with Colgate at 6:07.16. The trend of finishing 15 or more seconds ahead of the competition was consistent throughout the Invitational against Drexel and Oregon State as well.
“It was a successful weekend and we got out of it what I wanted, which was multiple trips down the race course and all crews learning a lot about what race pace feels like and making sure it’s aggressive but efficient,” said men’s head coach Scott Frandsen.
Back in California, both the men’s and women’s crews competed in the California Challenge and had good races — but the men’s team met some rough waters against UCSD.
In races against UCSD’s 2V 8+, the Bears’ 4V 8+ boat lost twice in close proximities of one and three seconds, respectively. In these races, Cal’s 4V 8+ raced against UCSD’s second varsity boat while Cal’s 2V 8+ was in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Cal’s freshmen 8+ swept its events against Santa Clara, UCLA and UCSD with a best time of 3:54.084. The freshmen were a new addition to the team that the coaching staff was excited to develop.
“We definitely saw some lineups that worked and some lineups that didn’t,” Frandsen said. “The freshmen raced really well; they looked like a good seasoned crew with really good energy, and I am really happy with how they raced.”
After a weekend of highs and lows, the Bears want to work on their race pace to have a good mix of aggression, relaxation and efficiency. This pacing was seen in some crews this weekend, while others used too much energy or were too rough in the water.
The women’s team won all of its races at the California Challenge with its 4V 8+ and 5V 8+ crews.
The 4V 8+ raced against UCI, UCSB and Santa Clara, and the 5V 8+ boats raced against UCSD, Orange Coast College and UCI, completing the course with a 20-30 second lead in every race.
This weekend served as more relaxed events that would allow coaches to evaluate the lineups and adapt as needed.
“It’s important for this group that they represent themselves, the team and the university really well,” said women’s head coach Al Acosta. “That covers a lot of different areas, how they travel on the regatta side, how they race and what kind of intensity they bring.”
The Bears plan to take these events as stepping stones for the more important and high-stakes races approaching and in the later parts of the season.