Building on its successful season in racing so far, Cal men’s crew added the San Diego Crew Classic to its list of victories, sweeping the weekend.
Winning all four events, the Bears had all competing boats place in every race. The 2V8+ and 3V8+ placed first and second in the Sharp Memorial Cup Final. The 2V8+, 3V8+ and freshmen V8+ placed for all spots on the podium in the Anderson Borthwick Memorial Trophy Final.
The fiercest competitors at the competition were Oxford Brookes and Rowing Canada.
Cal’s V8+ raced in the Copley Cup against Canada and Oxford Brookes. Usually the Copley Cup is a student event, but Cal’s opponents both brought international competition to the waters with members of the national teams in their boats.
The Bears came out on top, crossing the finish line at 5:46.776, over a second ahead of Oxford with a time of 5:48.456 and 12 seconds ahead of Canada at 5:58.809.
In their other races, the second and third varsity were both steadily ahead of their opponents, finishing at least 20 seconds ahead of their non-Cal competition.
“It was a really good first weekend of our spring season,” said head coach Scott Frandsen. “We had two really good races where they were able to come out on top, or more importantly learn a lot about how we race and where we need to improve and where we need to focus.”
Even though Cal dominated the courses, being clean with its movements and finding a base pace that is aggressive down the course will aid in keeping solid leads on the other boats in the water.
The Bears improved from Saturday to Sunday with their efforts in maintaining a lead and reacting to their opponents movements. Cal cut down its times on the course and the differences between their 2V8+ and 3V8+ from the prelim Sharp Memorial heats.
With these improvements, Cal is going to start to focus on improving their middle 1,000 meters during the race.
“One of our strong points is getting out from the start and finding a rhythm. One of the downfalls was that we should have definitely broken free from the likes of Oxford Brookes during the middle 1,000 and stayed more composed,” said graduate student Ollie Maclean. “Making more moves in the middle 1,000 and moving away from the other crews would be a point we want to improve on.”
Cal is happy with its final results, especially since this race had more pressure than its other races this season like the Vegas Invitational.
The women’s crew team also took on the San Diego Classic this weekend but found itself in choppier waters.
Competing in four events, the Bears ranked in varying positions. The V8+ ranked sixth, V4+ fourth and the 2V8+ and 3V8+ finished third. Texas and Stanford were schools that consistently placed in first and second and will be the competition the blue and gold will need to look out for in future races.
Most of the teams at the classic were top-tier teams that Cal will only get to race again at the NCAAs at the end of the season.
The weekend did not go how the Bears wanted it to and showed that they have some work to do, but they are hoping that some team bonding and practice can fix the connection between the rowers in the water.
“I think we need to, as a team, establish more trust in each other because we all come from different places, and we don’t really know each other that well yet because there are a lot of freshmen in the upper boats,” junior Angela Szabo said.
In order to build better relationships amongst the team, they plan to bond by doing a team hike and going to the beach. Both the men’s and women’s teams have areas needing improvement if they wish to compete for the highest honors at the end of the season. The men’s team has its next races this weekend while the women have until April 15 when they will face off against Stanford.