Wrapping up their regular-season dual races, the Bears are close to participating in the Big Row against Stanford. Although Cal has six boats prepared for this weekend, only the V8+ and 2V8+ crews will be racing.
The Big Row is one of the most anticipated events of the season, as Cal faces off against its main rival: Stanford.
The Stanford men’s rowing program is smaller than Cal’s and will only put two boats forward this weekend — its V8+ and 2V8+.
Last year, the Big Row was canceled due to health and safety protocols within the Stanford program. Fans are excited to see the two teams clash for Bay Area bragging rights after going two years without meeting.
In recent seasons, Stanford men’s crew has been on the rise: The Bears are going into the weekend ready for competitive races and will not be complacent in their current position.
“(We are) putting the strongest lineups we can and very much preparing for good races this weekend,” said head coach Scott Frandsen. “We are not overlooking or underestimating this weekend, I think it will be some good racing.”
In the blue and gold’s recent races, the 2V8+ crew has been trying to be more ruthless in the middle stretch, and it will look to maintain dominance throughout the whole course against Stanford this weekend.
This will be the last dual race for many of Cal’s rowers before the squad is cut down in preparation for the Pac-12 championships in May.
“I think we can come in a little bit harder and work more together in the middle of the race to stretch out and really be more dominant,” said 2V8+ crew member Fred Roper. “Just trying to find a bit more of that middle rhythm we were looking for this weekend (against UW) and apply that to our next dual race this Saturday.”
Following their weekend outing against Washington, the Bears will have their Title IX celebration race at Redwood Shores against SMU and Iowa.
For the celebration, the team will host its alums of the first varsity crew from the 1975 season. Additionally, rowers from the 1960s who pioneered women’s rowing at Cal will attend the ceremony.
The 1960s rowers were not a varsity crew because they were not supported by the administration — they represented Cal anyway, and they will be honored at the weekend’s races.
Al Acosta, head coach for the women’s crew team, is excited for the current team to have a chance to interact with the celebrated crews.
The races will be sectioned into two halves for the Bears: Cal will first race SMU in the morning and then repeat the events against Iowa in the afternoon.
One of the goals for the women’s team this season has been to cut down times as the season progresses. The team is hopeful that with the new changes to its lineups, it will finish with some of its fastest times this season.
“I don’t think we feel we have had a complete race where we nail it from beginning to end with the right combination,” Acosta said. “It would be nice to see the right combination race together from beginning to end and go faster than they have gone all year.”