California State University, Long Beach

Beach Battles Wind at San Diego Crew Classic, Prepares for Championships

Sunday, 13. April 2014

By Ariana Gastelum

Women’s Varsity Member

Contributing Writer

The Long Beach State Rowing Team (Beach Crew) powered through their 2,000-meter races in harsh winds at the San Diego Crew Classic on April 5 and 6 in San Diego, Calif.

They plan to bring that power to their upcoming competitions in Newport and Sacramento, Calif.

“The strong winds coming from the north favored the inside lanes one and two while making conditions progressively tougher across the course to the outside lane eight,” women’s coach Ian Simpson said.

The men’s varsity eight competed in the Men’s Collegiate Varsity Cal Cup, the first race of the regatta at 7:20a.m. They finished in fifth place in their heat with a time of 6 minutes and 41.05 seconds, ahead of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and Sacramento State University, only two seconds behind University of California Davis (UCD).

They raced again later that afternoon in the third final (places 13 – 18) and came third, beating San Diego State University, Loyola Marymount University and Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

“The second race was definitely better,” said Jake Skoll, stroke of the men’s varsity eight. “The water quality was a little better. I felt like we were more in unison. We just had better power and better competiveness as compared to the other race.”

The women’s novice eight was placed in lane four of the Collegiate Women’s Division II /Division III /Club Novice preliminary heat. The crew led UCD, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Orange Coast College (OCC) and University of California San Diego (UCSD) up until the 1,000-meter mark – the halfway point in the race. Mills College had been disqualified before the start.

“These five crews came down the course locked in a desperate battle, with no boat giving quarter, despite the fact that they were all guaranteed to race again in the next day’s final,” Simpson said. “The officials in the launches in the following race told me that were it not for a couple of mishaps, the crew would have had a very good chance of winning the race. Given the approximate four-second differential between each lane, caused by the variable water conditions, that was testament to the potential of the crew.”

The eight finished in fifth place with a time of 7 minutes and 44.6 seconds, ahead of University of California Irvine (UCI). They were only two seconds behind UCD and four seconds behind UCSB.

In Sunday’s final, the novice women finished fourth, behind UCSD, OCC and  UCSB  with a time of 8 minutes and 11.88 seconds.

“Once again, the crew raced well and were narrowly in the lead at 1,000 meters to go,” Simpson said. “They faltered a little and ended up a creditable fourth place, beating UC Davis by four seconds and finishing just three seconds behind Santa Barbara. The crew’s performance was all the more remarkable as it contained three women who picked up an oar for the first time in February.”

Alexandra Savage, stroke seat of the novice women’s eight, had competed in two races prior to Crew Classic. However, this was only Reid Atkins’s and Sarah Dresser’s second time ever racing.

The women’s varsity four was drawn into lane six in the Division II/Division III/Club preliminary heat. They finished fifth, ahead of UCSB and UCSD’s B boat. Due to an error, their time was not recorded.

In the final on Sunday, the varsity four competed in lane five with the same teams: UCSD’s A and B boats, University of Central Oklahoma, OCC and Barry University. They again finished fifth, ahead of UCSB and UCSD’s B boat with a time of 8 minutes and 44.43 seconds.

“Both crews would have done better if they had been drawn into better lanes for the preliminary heat, which would have put them on a more equal footing with the crews that beat them,” Simpson said.

Despite the wind, the novice men, who competed in the Men’s Collegiate Second Varsity heat, managed to beat their personal best time for a 2,000-meter race. The team finished in eighth place against Northeastern University, University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, Gonzaga University, UCSD, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Santa Clara University with a time of 7 minutes and 11.93 seconds.

“The men’s novice team met my expectations Friday night, before the racing even began,” said Jonathan Flietstra, men’s novice coach. “We have two novice eights still committed to showing up every day – still committed towards coming to practice; still determined to get better, faster, stronger and become great rowers. When I rowed, by this time in the season, it was normal to maybe have eight guys left. So, when I am asked if the weekend at San Diego was successful or not, I am not looking at Saturday or Sunday. Instead, Friday evening, as I am privileged to be a part of the rowing program at [California State University of Long Beach] in this kind of growth.”

Reginald Harris, a novice who joined in January, took part in this novice boat. He had competed in only two races prior to Crew Classic.

“I think it would be better if we focused on the whole race, [so that we don’t] die off at the end of the race,” he said. 

Harris mentioned that in the heat the crew had a strong start, and the petite final (places 7-12)  that took place on Sunday also felt strong up until the second half.

In order to prepare for Crew Classic, the men’s and women’s teams both held double practices each day over the spring break (March 31-April 3) that lasted four to five hours each day.

“In the evening, we had practice at 6,” Skoll said. “We would do almost a repeat of our morning practice – not necessarily the same workout, but we would get out on the water and start rowing.”

Skoll added that in the future, the team would benefit if there were a greater focus on conditioning.

“I think ‘erging’ is important and a lot of strength training,” he said. “I think we need to build a lot of muscle – lean muscle. I feel like weights and ergs should be a bigger portion or at least a more prevalent portion than it is now.”

Flietstra noted that he plans to continue the team’s routine training as the crew prepares for the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta (WIRA).

“Many of them are determined to get bigger and stronger,” he said. “I do not think we can afford to take it easy going into WIRA. We will continue to do what we have been doing and look forward to WIRA and next season.”

In preparation for the WIRA Championships the women’s team will spend the majority of its time in stable line-ups and work hard on developing crew cohesion and a racing mentality, according to Simpson.

“While not as bad as San Diego, the Sacramento course can also be affected by crosswinds, and it is important to be in the inside lanes for every race,” he said. “Therefore, at the Chapman Invitational, I expect to see our priority boats perform well and demonstrate that they deserve to be seeded highly for WIRA.”

Full results of the San Diego Crew Classic:

Beach Keeps Up with Competition at Berg Cup

Sunday, 30. March 2014

Women's V4

By Ariana Gastelum

Women’s Varsity Member

Contributing Writer

The Long Beach State Rowing Team’s (Beach Crew) varsity four and novice eight finished only five seconds behind first place in their 2,000-meter races at the Berg Cup in Newport, Calif. on March 22.

The four, which consisted of Maria Guardiola, Rikki Oden, Ariana Gastelum, Penelope Gallardo and coxswain Lauren Felske, finished with a time of 8 minutes and 50.2 seconds, beating University of California Irvine (UCI), Orange Coast College (OCC) and University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Long Beach came in 5.2 seconds after Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

The varsity-four competition raced in the highest opposing wind that day.

“The varsity four showed a good fight all the way down the course, overlapping with the LMU varsity four, which, unlike [Long Beach], comprised rowers who had not previously raced the same morning,” women’s coach Ian Simpson said. “Additionally, the Division-One-LMU boat contained experienced scholarship athletes.”

Guardiola, Oden and Gastelum had all participated in the second varsity-eight race about an hour before. Gallardo rowed with the novice eight and returned to land with little time to recover before she had to step into the four.

“I think I could’ve done a lot better,” Gallardo said. “It’s not like an erg piece where I know where I am, and I know my split time. I just had to pin point the pain all over again. I was so tired. My feet were tingling.”

Gallardo was also disappointed because her friend, an LMU rower, had beaten her in the varsity-four race.

“I almost cried when I saw the picture of my friend holding the Berg Cup,” she said.

The next week, she printed out small copies of that image and taped them onto some of the girls’ ergs for motivation.

The novice-eight race also had close competition. Beach Crew finished 5.1 seconds after OCC and only 1.7 seconds after UCSB’s A boat with a time of 6 minutes and 59.7 seconds followed by UCSB’s B and C boats and Chapman University.

“They had a great start and led for most of the first half of the race, demonstrating their potential to match up with top crews in their division,” Simpson said. “They have to learn to get into a better, more sustainable rhythm soon after the start, and to put themselves in a better position to defend their lead and to fight off challenges from other boats. They must learn to push harder even when their legs and lungs are burning with the effort.”

Gallardo believes that the girls lost their lead because they grew tired.

“When the rating got better, we started moving up more and more,” she said. “Also, nobody was familiar with the course…[coxswain Sheila Robles] knew where to start and where to finish. She didn’t know where halfway was. I didn’t know how much I had left. If we had all known, I think we would have done a lot better.”

In addition, newly joined novices Camille Hove, Sarah Dresser, Reid Atkins and Nancy Saliba raced for their first time in the varsity eight and novice four boats.

“I felt really scared when we pushed off from the dock,” Hove said. “But Lauren, our coxswain, has a really soothing voice, so that calmed me down.

The novice four, which included Hove, Atkins, Saliba, Brittni Finley and coxswain, Dresser, finished third behind UCSB and UCI with a time of 9 minutes and 12.4 seconds.

Simpson noted that since these girls have gotten more experience, the team can focus more on racing rather than learning how to row.

“Looking into next year, I think its good we got new people now,” he said. “For when they come back next year in the fall, and we could potentially have two varsity eights in the fall…If we have more bodies, as new people come in, they can learn at their own pace and the others can continue at their own pace. That would be a big difference. We have five varsity rowers this year and maybe 12 novices. If we had sixteen varsity rowers next year, it just changes everything.”

The next regatta the team will compete in will be at the San Diego Crew Classic in San Diego, Calif. on April 4.


Priority Registration Restored for Crew Athletes

Thursday, 6. March 2014


The Beach Crew Alumni Association (BCA), in cooperation with Interim University President, Dr. Donald Para, and Athletic Director, Victor Cegles, announced that priority class registration has been restored for crew athletes, effective Fall Semester 2014. Crew is the first team as part of a pilot project to expand the privilege to other teams in our department that express the need due to practice time constraints.

The BCA Board of Directors has been at the helm of these discussions in efforts to increase support and visibility of the sport at CSULB. The efforts have been led over the past six months by board members, Victor Grgas and Ken Glenn, Head Coach Robert Edwards, and Club Sports and Recreation Director Rita Hayes. The BCA also gained access to some athletic facilities such as meeting areas and preliminary access to training facilities starting Fall 2014.

BCA’s Director of Outreach, Brandin Grams, explains how this will greatly expose the team’s visibility and vitality at the school. “We are seeing a renewed interest in this sport by the most prominent athletic functions at the university. The strong efforts of the BCA are gaining attention and we can’t wait for these benefits to reward our hard-working athletes, with all we can get. Not only will this keep our athletes committed, it will also motivate all of us, on and off the water, to keep the movement going. All of us have a renewed responsibility to keep the school’s spirit strong. We have 50 years worth of alumni who are getting reconnected to what they once loved. We will continue to work hard and keep looking ahead.”

The BCA’s campus efforts started six months ago with Former University President, Dr. F. King Alexander, who resigned in June 2013, to become the Chancellor of the Louisiana State University system. The BCA continues to strive for additional support, including preferred admission to freshman students interested in attending CSULB, which was not approved in this round of support.