California State University, Long Beach

Women’s Varsity Eight Finishes First at Newport Chase

Friday, 28. November 2014

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Photo by Evan Mauno

Varsity eight (left to right): Coxswain Sarah Dresser, Kelsey Davis, Sydney Abad, Maria Guardiola, Sam McFeely, Alexandra Savage, Rikki Oden, Ariana Gastelum and Cecilia Guerrero

 

By Rikki Oden

Varsity Rower

Nothing feels as good as winning, and it felt especially good to finish up this semester with a win.

At first, I couldn’t remember this race happening last year, but that’s because I was recovering from the flu so I didn’t race.

This course isn’t unfamiliar to us since we race in Newport in the spring, but those are 2k races instead of the typical 5k races that happen in the fall. This race, the Newport Chase, was actually 5,150 meters, making it our longest race for the whole year.

As usual, the race felt like an eternity–yet was over in a flash. The rhythm and energy of the boat was solid throughout the whole race; I’m proud of that. We really came together as a team to win this. We took the things we’d worked on in practice—the many drills and the relentless erg pieces—and brought them into this race.

We ended up winning by a mere two seconds, and those seconds can definitely be attributed to our coxswain, Sarah. She steered the best course possible and managed to pass another boat on the inside of a turn. Watching that boat fall back midway through the race helped me focus in and really pull hard.

Overall, I enjoyed this race and winning made it even better. Now that we finished fall 5ks with a victory I’m definitely ready for 2k season.

Varsity Men’s Last Race of Fall Season Ends with a Bang, Literally

Friday, 21. November 2014

Photo by Ariana Gastelum

Photo by Ariana Gastelum

At last weekend’s regatta, Head of the Harbor, the varsity men’s race experienced a series of unfortunate events including a broken footplate and a seat popping off the tracks. Coach Robert Edwards immediately investigated what happened after the race and discussed it with his rowers, motivating them to redeem themselves in the spring.

 

By Brad McCormick

Varsity Rower

I love being in a boat. I love when we’re on the water during a race, the focus in the boat and the competition when you can see the boats around you. However, the Head of the Harbor race at the Port of LA last weekend proved to be quite the opposite, unfortunately. The race, which is 5000 meters long, proved to be challenging for the men’s varsity boat because of a multitude of incidents. Not even 500 meters into the race, the support boards underneath the shoes of my footplate snapped in half. This means that for the remaining 4500 meters of the race the “drive” of my stroke compared to jumping off a trampoline…

Then, as we approached the bridge on the course, the seat of my teammate in bow came off the track, causing him to attempt to put the seat back on for the last 100 meters. It’s frustrating having these things happen, feeling that ineffective, and seeing the boats around you just walk away.The only thing I could truly focus on at this point was staying in time with the guys sitting stroke pair, using just my arms and body to get the strongest stroke I could produce even through the lack of support in my feet, which led to distracting leg cramps. If I learned anything from this race, it’s that rowing truly is a mental sport.

The whole time I was racing, I was so frustrated that these things were happening, yet I pushed through the pain and dissatisfaction anyway. I realized later though, that in reality, these things were events that I couldn’t control and that there is an importance in keeping boats in good shape, making sure that all the boat parts are in racing condition. Altogether, what I took away from this race is that although these incidents suck, they happen. And even though there will be these frustrations, there isn’t anything that will deter my love for being in a boat. We will only go up from here.

A Coxswain’s Perspective

Saturday, 15. November 2014

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Photo provided by Stefano Balbusso

Coxswain Sarah Dresser began rowing in Spring 2014, and switched to coxing this Fall. This was her first race as a varsity coxswain as well as her first 5,000-meter race.

 

By Sarah Dresser

Varsity Coxswain

Every morning, I wake up (or rather, get pulled out of bed by my roommate) and put on a sweatshirt. And then another. And maybe another. This is because I am a coxswain and get to sit in the cold while everyone else is sweating away.

While it might seem from the outside that I just sit in the boat, steering and shouting, it is actually a much greater performance than many realize.

For those who do not know me, I am hardly a person who is pushy, demanding, or controlling; I am actually rather quiet, preferring to be in small groups and in relaxed settings. However, this changes as soon as I call, “hands on,” signifying to my rowers that it is time for business, a hard day’s practice. I command and direct those dedicated people to make them stronger, to make them faster, and to make them win.

This confidence to command does not come naturally to most people. It was perhaps my hardest challenge as a new coxswain. Although I had rowed for a semester before becoming a coxswain, it was an uncomfortable transition from bow seat to ninth seat Being the one person responsible for an entire boat’s welfare, being the one person under a microscope and having your voice projected through a speaker system for each and every word to be heard is extremely daunting. It is easy to act meek under these circumstances. But to my rowers, that is completely unacceptable.

This is a coxswain’s “performance,” the attitude and behaviors that build the rowers’ connection to the boat.

A coxswain chooses their words carefully, aimed at channeling the rowers’ energy into the same goal. To do this, I must be confident in myself and my acquired skills in order to push them past their perceived limits and bring them closer as a team.

The best reward as a coxswain is not hearing your own praises from fans, coaches, or teammates; it is hearing your rowers say they’ve never had a better race. When my boat finishes a race, and every rower feels they’ve done their best, I beam with happiness at their success and thank them for the hard work they put in each and every day. I work just as hard for them because I know that the better I perform in the coxswain seat, the harder they will push themselves to be competitive against other teams and against themselves.

With the team’s determination and drive for success, I have no doubt that together, Long Beach State Rowing is prepared to have their best season yet.

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Photo provided by Stefano Balbusso