California State University, Long Beach

Head of the Harbor Wraps up Fall Season

Saturday, 3. December 2016

Photo by Hope Wilkinson. USS Iowa towering over LBS Varsity 8A

By Sean McCrea

Men’s Varsity Rower

Larger than life container ships less than 100 yards to my left. The Vincent Thomas Bridge staring at me in the distance ahead. On the shore to my right is the decommissioned World War II Battleship the USS Iowa. An overwhelming sense of gratitude takes over my consciousness as I sit in awe, awaiting the start of the final race of the fall season. Regatta officials are yelling out commands to surrounding boats trying to get them lined up for the start of the race. 12 boats in total, all bunched up in the channel previously described. Santa Barbara, USC, San Diego State, and Long Beach all sending multiple 4+’s out to race on a gloomy Sunday morning. Rain begins to fall just before the race starts, it doesn’t matter… we’re focused, we’re strong, we’re ready.

Photo by Hope Wilkinson. Novice 4A

Photo by Hope Wilkinson. Varsity 4A with Santa Barbara bow

Head of the Harbor about is about as straight of a course as it gets for head racing, and the distance is around 4800 meters. 1500 meters into the race Santa Barbara is closing in on us like they were shot out of a cannon. Their bow ball is on our stern deck and I can hear their coxswain calling power fives and demanding her rowers to bring up the power to pass us. Had I moved my eyes to left a millimeter I would have been able to tell you the color of her eyes, but by this time in the race I was seeing tunnel vision. I knew that I could not afford to take one stroke off or I run the risk of letting down my teammates behind me who are all working just as hard, if not harder than I to not let this boat physically pass us. We counter every attempt to pass by Santa Barbara by powering up with them, their coxswain is getting frustrated. This is a battle of will, determination, and effort, and it goes on for roughly 12 minutes. With 1000 meters to go we close in on USC and San Diego State, who were both sent off before us. I can now hear USC’s coxswain, Santa Barbara’s coxswain, our coxswain, Nikki Jenkins, and our teammates and friends screaming “GOOO BEEAACCCHH!!!” from the boat launching dock on the shore to the right. The sound of our 4 oar locks popping together in stereo keeps my breathing rhythm synchronized with each stroke. We bring up the rate and the power and the tunnel I’m looking through is getting smaller and smaller. Pulling away from Santa Barbara and gaining ground on USC with each stroke and my whole body is on fire. We now have overlap with our bow ball on the stern deck of USC. Nate, Dylan, Ibrahim, Nikki, and myself are giving it everything we’ve got, this is the last competitive collegiate race Nate and Dylan will ever have and we are not about to give up anything! Nikki calls another power 10 and we fly across the finish line on the last strokes, simultaneously running completely out of energy. We held our ground.

That was the open 4+’s race, LBS men’s 4A+ finished 5th of 12 with a time of 18:06. The 4B+ finished 9th of 12 with an 18:51. The novice 4A was 12 of 12 with a 22:41, but to their credit, they  just finished the novice 8+ event, rowed to the dock, got into the 4+, rowed to the start, and raced a field of fresh varsity crews. They would have done much better had the circumstances been different. The novice 4B+ did not make it to the start in time and were disqualified. In the varsity 8+’s event the 8A+ got 7th of 10 with a 17:20 and the 8B+ finished 9th of 10 with an 18:00 flat. The novice 8A+ was missing one of their fastest oarsmen, Chris Innes, but they picked up the slack and finished strong, getting 4th of 17 with a 17:49. Novice 8B+ finished 15 of 17 with a 20:45.

We may not have come home with any medals this year at Head of the Harbor, but Long Beach State Rowing came home holding its head high. We left everything out on the water that day, as we always do on race day, and look forward to meeting these crews again in the spring for 2k season.

Photo by Hope Wilkinson. Novice 8

Photo by Hope Wilkinson. Novice 8

John Cashman Boat Dedication at NICRC

Saturday, 26. November 2016

By Sean McCrea

Men’s Varsity Rower

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SoCal sunshine in November, oarsmen and women pulling their hearts out on the water, endless pancakes, gold medals, The Queen Mary Trophy, and champagne being poured over the bow of the John Cashman by former LBS and US Men’s National team Olympic lightweight rower John Cashman, add all of these together and you’ve got yourself quite the afternoon. That is exactly what it was for Long Beach State Rowing on November 19th, 2016 at the Naples Island Collegiate Rowing Challenge, AKA the Pancake Regatta.

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LBS novice men clash oars with UCLA novice. Photo Credit: AC Chacon

NICRC is a unique regatta. It starts with the head race around Naples Island, has a small break which is when the pancakes are served, the medal ceremony takes place, and this year the boat dedication. And is concluded with the novice sprints, an 850m all out sprint race. It serves as an opportunity for novice coxswains to get a taste of things to come for the upcoming spring sprint season, as well as a chance for some LB alumni to get on the water for some fun. I remember thinking I was a hot shot novice year going into this regatta and talking trash with my then novice coach John Fliestra. He was stroking the alumni boat lined up right next to my novice boat. Needless to say, his boat smoked ours.

 

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Photo Credit: Val Stepanchuk

As I said earlier, it was a good day for LBS rowing. The men’s novice and varsity took home gold in the 8+’s and 4+’s events. The wins gave Long Beach enough points to take home the Queen Mary Trophy which is awarded to the school with the most overall points from all races. The varsity men had it easy as they were the only varsity men’s crew even entered in the Regatta, Chapman did enter a 4+ but had to scratch the lineup before the race. The novice men edged out UCLA and UCSB for their victories. The women had a tough opponent in UCSB and came up short this time, but they will bounce back, they’re a resilient bunch.

NICRC was a well organized Regatta and we at Long Beach State are extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate. We are also very thankful for all of the people working hard behind the scenes to make days like this possible. Hopefully there will be many more to come!

 

 

Novice Men and Women Have a Good Showing at San Diego Fall Classic

Monday, 21. November 2016

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Men’s novice four (left to right; Ehab Elrashidy, Taylor Grant Froehlich, Rocket Romano, Chris Innes, JD Nogueda) photo credit: AC Chacon

By Sean McCrea

Men’s Varsity Rower

It was a good day for LBS novice men and women at San Diego Fall Classic on November 13, 2016. The women’s novice 4+ came home with a bronze medal, beating out 2 of the 5 boats in their race and a time of 28:38, a merly 13 and 14 seconds behind the 1st and 2nd place boats. It is good to see LBS women back on the podium in 2016, we are all very proud of them.

The men’s novice 8+ also brought home a bronze medal Sunday afternoon, beating out 9 of the 12 boats in the race with a time of 18:07. Only Orange Coast College and University of San Diego were able to out race the LBS Novice 8+ that day. The novice 4+ one upped the 8+ and won a silver medal, getting 2nd of 5 in their fours event with a time of 20:56. That would be the second medals of the day for Jason “JD” Noguedo, Taylor Grant Froehlich, Chris Innes, Ehab Elrashidy, and coxswain Rocket Romano. I have had the honor of watching these young fellas grow as rowers and people since they all showed up back in August. Ehab was actually committed to the team in late June/early July, showing up in the morning all summer to workout with coach AC, myself, varsity rower Jacob Munoz, and others in preparation for this season. I am not at all surprised that he is winning medals in some of his first regattas. Rocket was actually a late add for the team. He came into the boathouse after being recruited by Ehab in October. Rocket caught on to the ways of the coxswain extremely fast and has excelled since day 1.

As a varsity rower it is encouraging to see the novices have success. It is a sign of the program moving the right direction with strong recruits and exceptional early development of these recruits. Coach Underwood is doing a fantastic job with the novice men as is Coach Alyssa with the novice women.

Varsity men and women had decent showings in their own rights as well, they just did not end up on the podium as the novices did. For the women, coach Ian entered two 8+’s and two pairs. The competition was tough and the 8+’s got 12th and 14th of 14 in their event with times of 20:12 (raw time for A boat, 21:12 after 1 minute penalty) and 21:58 for the B boat. The pairs got 4th and 5th of 7 in their event. The B pair had a time of 24:51, only 3 seconds behind the bronze medal boat. The A pair had a time of 24:54. An exciting and close race for the 4 women in this race. Women’s team president and bow seat of the women’s varsity B pair, Penny Gallardo, recalled the race being very intense. Her and Megan DeVore were passed by one of Santa Barbara’s pairs (they entered 3 pairs in total) at one point in the race but they never gave up. Penny said she knew from the beginning of the race that if she steered the course better than everyone else, they would have a significant advantage over the other crews. She studied the map with the coxswains and was very familiar with the course. So when Santa Barbara passed them in the first 1000 meters she knew they needed to take the inside of at least two corners on the next turns in order to re-pass them. They were closing in and Santa Barbara did not want to give them the right of way on the inside, so they stayed outside of them before making the first turn. “It was probably the tightest turn of my life!” Penny said. “One more stroke with port pressure and we would have hit the buoy, haha!” After finally getting inside of them during the turn, Penny and Megan blew past Santa Barbara. By the end of the race they had even caught up bow-to-stern with the the Long Beach A boat which was sent off two boats before them. There is a lot of fight in these girls and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish together as the season progresses.

Men’s varsity entered 4 boats in total, this included an openweight 8+, a lightweight 8+, and two 4+’s. The openweight 8+ got 16th of 21 with a time of 16:55. The lightweight 8+ won gold in their event with a 1st of 1 finish with a time of 17:55. Varsity B4+ finished 15th of 20 with a time of 19:43. The Varsity A4+ finished 12 of 20 with a time of 19:25. All boats are making significant progress and are looking forward to maximizing potential for upcoming regattas.