The Bears had a successful weekend up in Washington against the Huskies, winning four out of five races. Although the blue and gold lost their first race of the season with their 3V8+ crew, they still left the dual races with the Schoch Cup.
Racing against the Huskies is usually a telltale sign for the Bears as to how their season is going. While they have had important races prior to Washington, such as San Diego and the Pac-12 challenge, these races allow them to gauge where they are at going into the Pac-12 Championship and IRA Championships.
This marker race looked good for the V8+ crew as it finished at 5:30.018, a full second ahead of Washington. Even though they walked away with the Schoch Cup, the Bears will not be complacent with their current speed and are working to quicken their pace.
The most evident sign that Cal needs to have a faster pace was seen in the 3V8+ race. The blue and gold completed the course at 5:42.809, more than two seconds behind the Huskies.
Cal and Washington make up two of the top three 3V8+ rowing crews; the competition is going to be close, making Washington’s speed not shocking. This weekend proved to the Bears that the Huskies will be a rising competitor and that they have parts of their race to improve on.
“(The 3V8+ needs to be) drawing the finish off better together, it just looked a little disjointed and rough to the finish,”said head coach Scott Frandsen. “We can find a little more stability to the finish by being a little more in unison at that finish point.”
Even with the improvements needing to be made in certain crews, the 2V8+ crew had one of their best races of the season, completing the course about three seconds ahead of Washington.
Throughout the year, the crew has been making changes to their members in order to be the most efficient they can be.
“We had a really good race, probably one of our better races this season,” said 2V8+ crew member Fred Roper. “We have been making a lot of switches to try and get the most out of that particular boat. We had a really complete race and there are things we want to work on too, finding space and distance between the competition.”
The women’s crew had three good races out of the five against Washington, but ultimately lost the Simpson cup to the Huskies in their V8+ and V4+ race by five seconds.
The Bears showed depth to their program with wins in the 2V8+, 3V8+ and 4V8+ races, but there was still some tightening up to do in their upper boats as the V4+ crew fell behind Washington by about seven seconds.
In the NCAA region 5, the Bears rank above the Huskies V4+ crew but below their V8+ crew, causing some disappointment among fans.
“We raced pretty hard this weekend, as far as just racing down the race course the team did a good job and there was a lot of good energy,” said head coach Al Acosta. “We showed good depth obviously winning some of those races, but we need to get our first eight sorted out, and they need to go a little bit faster.”
Throughout the season, the Bears have been mixing up their lineup in order to have the most efficient boats that they can. Acosta feels confident that the right changes can be made in order to create crews that win these types of races.
“Now, it is mostly a matter of the right combination of rowers,” Acosta said. “We feel there is another combination of rowers that is going to make the boat go faster. It is really just the right combination.”
Like the men’s team, this weekend of races is a marker for the season of how the blue and gold are matching up against the competition. The Bears have one last set of races this coming weekend to fully test out new crews before they head off to the Pac-12 Championships.