California State University, Long Beach

Remembering Joan Lind Van Blom (1952-2015)

Saturday, 29. August 2015

joanpassing

Friday, August 28, 2015
UPDATED: August 29, 2015 1:40PM PDT

By: Brandin Grams (’10, B.S., business)
Director of Outreach, Beach Crew Alumni Association
CSU Long Beach 49er Foundation

Photo Credits: Hope Wilkinson, Karen Keehn (1973, B.A., psychology), Jean Strauss, Andi Parsons

 

LONG BEACH, CA —

Lind_2Long Beach State has lost a legend in the 49er Hall of Fame, only to be remembered by her endless prowess for success and as an ambassador to the sport of rowing. Forget just being a role model, to many, she was a hero. She was a fierce competitor, but also passionate of promoting Physical Education throughout her career.

Joan (Lind) Van Blom (1974, B.A., physical education; 1976, credential)  passed away in the morning hours on Friday, August 28, 2015, after a near two-year battle with complications of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Prior to this time, Joan’s story was that of a storybook, whose athletic achievement became a legend. But on August 21, 2013, at the Pete Archer Rowing Center, she collapsed after an indoor rowing session, depicting the fate of what’s to come.

Joan was the first woman to win an Olympic medal for the United States in rowing, taking silver in the single sculls at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, and another in the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Joan was also a member of the 1980 Olympic team, which boycotted the Moscow Games. She not only medaled as a rower, but also medaled internationally as a coach in the Pan American Games, and currently holds 11 world records on the indoor ergometer.

11951883_10153557286702298_4070469725516771882_nJoan had a 35-year career with the Long Beach Unified School District as a physical education teacher and was instrumental in winning a million-dollar grant to put rowing machines in each of her school district’s nine high schools. Joan retired in 2012.

Through the years, Joan was inducted into the 49er Hall of Fame and was declared a Lifetime Member of the Long Beach Rowing Association, marking her never-ending achievement in advocacy for the sport and healthy living. She was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in 1985. Joan is part of the Long Beach Century Club‘s best moments in the City of Long Beach, instated February, 2006.

For all of her accomplishments, dedication to rowing and contributions to the sport’s growth, Van Blom was named the recipient of the 2014 USRowing Ernestine Bayer Award, formerly Woman of the Year, which recognizes outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing.

The award is named in honor of the late Ernestine Bayer, a pioneer in women’s rowing, who is seen as the matriarch of the sport in the United States. Joan was honored on Saturday, December 6, at the 2014 USRowing Annual Awards Reception presented by Nathan Benderson Park in Jacksonville, FL


 

Joan is survived by her husband John Van Blom (1972, B.A., art) and their son, John Jr. John is a four-time Olympian and was also inducted into the 49er Hall of Fame. Both entries can be seen at the 49er Hall of Fame, located at the Walter Pyramid, Ukleja Room, on the CSULB campus.

 

Recent Activities

On February 21, 2014, the Beach Crew Alumni Association hosted John and Joan Van Blom for an interview at the 49er Hall of Fame, conducted by Dave Straley (’72). The interview can be seen on the Beach Crew Alumni Association’s YouTube page. It is also available for viewing by appointment at the University Archives, Room 300, third floor of the CSULB Library.

 

Racing Shell Dedication

After a successful annual membership drive Fall 2014, the Beach Crew Alumni Association announced the dedication of two racing shells introduced in the Spring 2015 racing season. A Women’s Resolute 8+ shell was dedicated as the Joan Lind Van Blom. The Men’s golden Vespoli 8+ shell was dedicated to a influential and respected alum, John D. Boyle. The dedication ceremony was Saturday March 7, 2015, after racing commenced at the Southern California Opening Day Regatta. CSULB President, Dr. Jane Close Conoley was in attendance and made a special presentation. The ceremony was broadcasted by The Rowing Channel (TRC) and can be viewed at their website.

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Biography

Jean Strauss, a former Long Beach-native, has been involved during this time with Joan’s biography, titled, “The Olympian,” scheduled to be released in Spring 2016, 40 years after her first Olympic race. She invites everyone to see a preview of what’s in the works:

Joan Lind – America’s Sculler from Jean A. S. Strauss on Vimeo. At the 2015 San Diego Crew Classic, Olympians and National Team Members talk about Joan Lind Van Blom and the impact she had on the early years of women’s international rowing – and the impact she continues to have to this day.

JOAN – on rowing from Jean A. S. Strauss on Vimeo. Joan Lind Van Blom is a two time Olympic silver medalist. The first woman to ever win a rowing medal for the US at the Olympics (Montreal, 1976), she represents a generation of women who, once given the opportunity to compete, raised the level of athleticism and grace in a sport that for over a millennia was the domain of men only. This short film contains footage from a documentary currently in production.

 

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Memorial

Plans for a memorial have not been determined. This article will be updated below of such plans. Our community subscribed to the B-Newsline will be notified of these events.

 

Photo Credits

Larger Photos: Hope Wilkinson
Earlier/B&W Photos: Karen Keehn (1973, B.A., psychology)
Where Credited: Andi Parsons

Miscalculations at Chapman Regatta Cause Controversy

Wednesday, 15. April 2015

The varsity eight race at the Chapman Regatta was so close, Long Beach State University, University of California Santa Barbara and Orange Coast College have mixed thoughts about the end result.

The varsity eight race at the Chapman Regatta was so close, Long Beach State University, University of California Santa Barbara and Orange Coast College have mixed thoughts about the end result.

Photo by Stefano Balbusso

 

By Ariana Gastelum

Publicity Manager

Varsity Rower

Everyone can agree that the women’s varsity eight race at the Chapman Regatta on April 12 was a brutal battle all the way down the 2,000-meter course, but teams differ in opinions when it comes down to the end result.

According to Row2k.com, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) finished first with a time of 6 minutes and 54 seconds. Orange Coast College (OCC) ended second at 6 minutes and 56.3 seconds followed by Long Beach State University (LBSU) .16 seconds later.

However, every athlete in the LBSU boat believes they finished second, before OCC and only about half a seat away from UCSB. Immediately after the results were posted, conflict arose.

According to coxswain Sarah Dresser, her seat was aligned with OCC’s 2-seat at the 250-meter mark. Though they eventually gained more seats, they never officially caught up with LBSU.

Before the last approximate 10 strokes of the race, Dresser remembers her seat aligned with UCSB’s coxswain.

“We weren’t in front of them, but we got even with them,” she said “In the end, they pulled ahead, and they crossed the finish line before us.”

UCSB raced in lane two with OCC on port side and LBSU on starboard side. A private message from UCSB’s Rowing Facebook page noted their varsity coxswain’s perspective.

“She says that [LBSU] took second over OCC and that our head coach, Mike Homes, has been in contact with other coaches about this matter as well,” it explained.

Without video footage of the race’s finish, we may never know what really happened in that race at the Chapman Regatta. However, LBSU’s women are utilizing these mixed results as fuel to correct it all at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association next weekend.

 

UPDATE 4-16-15 at 3:00pm

UCSB’s varsity coxswain noted to her coach:

“I was sitting on the Long Beach 6-seat at the finish. They beat OCC.  We were up on OCC by four to five seats the whole race, but I looked at [LBSU] at the finish because OCC was at least four seats behind us.”

To Row or to Study: Tilley Defines Student-Athlete

Sunday, 12. April 2015

photo

Photos by Mark Bledsoe

 

By Ariana Gastelum

Publicity Manager

Varsity Rower

Twenty hours of studying per week, plus approximately 2-3 hours of rowing practice everyday, plus a job as a Housing and Residential Life multimedia technician equals one strong-minded individual. Varsity rower Patrick Tilley handles all of these tasks in addition to being the men’s team’s vice president.

This is Tilley’s third year at Long Beach State University (LBSU). He plans to graduate at the end of spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in general biology.

Tilley has been a student-athlete for almost a decade. Before crew, he ran cross-country and track and field for seven years. He ran for his high school team in San Diego and Mesa College.

Though he originally planned to run track and field at LBSU, Tilley decided to try out for the rowing team in the fall of 2012.

“After being an athlete for so long, I feel like I’ll always be doing something competitive,” he said. “I always see myself being able to push myself farther – not only as an athlete, but as a person as well.”

In comparison to cross country and track and field, Tilley liked the competitiveness of both sports, but he was also attracted to the sense of support in rowing.

“The thing with cross country and track and rowing is that cross country and track are individual sports, and so it’s more along the line where you can’t drag your teammates along,” he said. “But with rowing, you still need everyone on the same page, or else you’re not going to win. So, that’s what we had, which was really nice.”

When Tilley first joined the team, there were only 16 other men. In the years after, he worked his way up to treasurer and vice president.

“Obviously a competitive rowing team needs numbers to do really well,” he said. “Myself and [Jacob] Bledsoe and a couple others who joined my novice year, we were all novices together, and we take it upon ourselves to build the team and make it better for everybody. I want everyone to experience what I do. I want that level of competition and that level of success.”

With school, crew and work as a multimedia technician, self-control and time-management skills are essential. According to Tilley, school comes first, then work and then crew. However, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Self-control is also one of the most important aspects of rowing in Tilley’s opinion.

“You need to row well in order to move in the boat,” he explained. “In order to row well, you need to have control in your drive and your recovery. Control is body control, so you need to have good core strength. Sit up, maintain your body strength or else you’ll lose power on your drive.”

Tilley has had several highlights throughout his rowing career, but one that particularly stands out was when he finished fourth in the varsity four at grand finals of the 2014 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta. One final goal for his last regatta would be to finally medal at WIRA.

“I would really love to medal in any boat, really,” he said. “I’ll row whatever boat I get put in. I might complain here and there, but I think at the end of the day, I’ll just be happy with being put in a competitive boat.”

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Men’s varsity four of 2014 with coxswain Kaitlyn Gold (not pictured), Patrick Tilley, Grey Mouser, Jacob Bledsoe and Jake Skoll.