California State University, Long Beach

Daily 49er: LBSU’s Women’s Club Rowing Team Initiative Sparks Faith in Captain

Thursday, 17. September 2015


Photo courtesy of Mark Bledsoe

Miranda Andrade-Ceja, Staff Writer

Rowing a boat is hard when only one person is handling the oars.

Racing for the LBSU women’s team since 2013, club President Ariana Gastelum is ecstatic to see the club team go from having a single new recruit for the 2015 spring semester, to bringing in over 20 novices after weeks of diligent recruiting in the fall.

“They’re awesome, the novices,” Gastelum said. “Our goal is to mentor the novices not only for rowing, but for their lives.”

Unlike other LBSU students who can sleep in, the rowers must wake up at 5:30 a.m. to begin warming up for a long morning’s worth of strenuous practice consisting of full-body exercise, sweat, and team-building.

After finding that she couldn’t attend one of the weekly exercise sessions, new recruit and transfer student Chloe Volz organized for a group of novice girls to have their own training session. Volz was recruited by the team during the first week of school outside the recreation center, and is extremely excited and eager to be involved with the team.

“I’ve always had social anxiety, and I was really nervous about joining a team—it’s really intimidating,” Volz said. “But I have to say, I’ve just started to get to know the novice girls, and they’re really cool. The varsity girls are amazing, they’re so supportive and patient.”

The surge of support and initiative was what led Gastelum to place a huge amount of faith and trust in her team. Over her past two years of rowing for LBSU, Gastelum has worked tirelessly to provide the team with the support and attention she feels they deserve.

“I think those who commit to the team are already naturally determined to perform well,” Gastelum said. “So, the drive to take initiative has always been there—but now the execution is what can finally take place. Now that we’re a larger size, we have people from different backgrounds willing to help in any area they can.”

Gastelum said that with this growth, the officers would not be as overwhelmed with their responsibility for the club team. Now, the officers will be able to delegate day-to-day responsibility while being able to look towards the future.

“With this help, we can focus on opportunities that we’ve never taken before. We can’t say, ‘well, maybe next year we can do this.’ No. This is the year we finally have the chance to plan more events; this is the year we can beat our local rivals; this is the year we have something to show to CSULB and our community.”

Gastelum said she feels incredible pride for the growing team, having high aspirations for their future but wishing to focus primarily on team-building and mentoring for the fall semester.

The LBSU women’s rowing team will participate in their first regatta on Sunday, Oct 4 for the Bay Series 5k, where many of the novices will get their first taste of what it is to competitively row.

New Men’s Head Coach: Anthony Chacon

Sunday, 6. September 2015

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Photo by Matthew Maliglig

By Ariana Gastelum

Publicity Manager

Women’s Team President

With 11 years of experience in NCAA collegiate, club collegiate and Masters competitive programs, Anthony Chacon now trains the Long Beach State Rowing men’s team as its new head coach.

Chacon became involved in rowing when he was a student at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“I had to take a PE credit in college, so I took Weightlifting-101 or whatever they called it,” he said. “They paired me up with another small guy, and he was actually a rower…He took me to rowing practice one day, and I started doing it with the original intention to be a rower.”

Chacon ended up coxing the men’s novice team. Before the end of his novice year, he began coaching for intramural rowing.

Since 2003, Chacon has coached or assisted coaching for North Park University, Chicago Rowing Union, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame and Grand Valley State University.

In 2007, Chacon was head coach for Lincoln Park Boat Club in Chicago, who won a medal at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston within two years of him being there.

“By the end of my four years with the team, they had gone from a small team of about eight returning athletes to 32 total rowers,” he noted in a personal biography. “The team medaled in every race they had entries in.”


Men’s 8+ had just finished rowing 12,000 meters as the sun rose.

Chacon sent in his application to Long Beach because he is studying for his Masters in Kinesiology at Fresno Pacific University, and he wanted to coach while he was in the Orange County and Los Angeles area.

“My dad went here in the 60s, and it’s close to a lot of family,” he said. “It’s just beautiful here. I went to the Marina, and I was like, this is amazing. I’ve been coaching on an open sewer, and here, it’s like Baywatch.”

When Chacon was first introduced to the varsity team, he had the returning athletes fill out a questionnaire to learn about their overall attitude of last year’s performance and this year’s outlook.

“The replies that came in were nearly all positive in nature,” he noted. “There is some residual disappointment about their performances at regattas from last season, but they remain hopeful about the upcoming year.”

After working with the team for the first week, Chacon liked that everyone appeared “excited to be part of this new direction.”

Chacon has several tools and strategies for the team that he plans to utilize over the year such as a Yearly Planning Instrument (YPI), Macrocycles and services from LBSU’s Sports Training and Research program (STAR).

YPI is about planning workouts and visualizing the quantity, volume and intensity of the workouts throughout the season. Macrocycles are also training plans that are broken down into 11 one-month long parts.

STAR is made up of student-interns with majors in different areas of kinesiology including sports medicine, nutrition, sports psychology and biomechanics. They can design personalized weight training workouts for every athlete, educate them on healthy eating habits and get them mentally prepared for races.

Chacon believes the team is very lucky and blessed to have a boathouse, a large fleet of well-kept boats, professional staff and support from the school and alumni.

“They have all the tools to be successful and no excuse to not get results,” he noted. “I wont let them forget that! There is no reason CSULB cannot be as two other well supported club teams that are competitive that I am familiar with (Grand Valley State University and University of Michigan). In case you don’ t know, those are the teams we are [going to] beat someday.”


Eric Oates, Dylan Widjaja, Scott Morris, Jacob Bledsoe, Jacob Muñoz, Mark Saavedra, Chris Ehling and Gabriel Jordan make multiple trips around Naples Island during practice.

Photos by Anthony Chacon

Remembering Joan Lind Van Blom (1952-2015)

Saturday, 29. August 2015


Friday, August 28, 2015
UPDATED: September 7, 2015 11:47PM 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, Carol Beard, Maddison Kerst



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. She was 62. 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. Joan has two sisters, Loretta Madsen and Carol Hansen. 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.




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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Plans for a memorial are set for Saturday, October 10, 4:00PM to sunset at the Pete Archer Rowing Center. Please RSVP to 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, Maddison Kerst, Carol Beard