Photo by Jill McGill
By Ariana Gastelum
Like several others who attend Long Beach State University (LBSU), Jacob Bledsoe entered his freshman year in 2012 wanting to try something new. Little did he know, he was going to be president of the varsity LBS Rowing Team, a silver medalist at Club Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn. and hoping to compete in an international competition in his future.
After a few days of joining the team out on the water, Bledsoe admitted he was already captivated by the sport.
“I think the third day I was there, we lined up to do a little 250-meter race,” he said. “The sun was rising above all the boats in the harbor, and it was really pretty. The water was completely calm. I keep hearing Ian [Simpson], the women’s coach, say that it’s almost magical. That’s kind of how I felt. In that moment, I knew I had to keep doing this.”
Bledsoe played an important role on the team last year as 5-seat in the varsity-eight and 3-seat in the varsity-four. He was also the team’s vice president.
Last summer, Bledsoe joined the Southern California Scullers Club, a high-performance rowing club that emphasizes in small-boats training, run by Simpson and Dan McGill.
“I want to be able to go to another country and compete in an international competition,” he said. “I thought training with SoCal Scullers would be a really good start…I want to keep training with them and competing with them.”
Bledsoe competed at Club Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn. with SoCal Scullers last July. In the intermediate quad, he took second place with a time of 6 minutes and 28.86 seconds, only .1 of a second behind first. In the intermediate single, he won the semi-final and ended fifth out of 18 in the finals with a time of 7 minutes and 52.88 seconds.
This is now Bledsoe’s third year attending LBSU as an international business major with a focus in Germany. He works as a marketing intern at Bosch Home Appliances and is the team captain and president of the LBS Rowing.
Bledsoe’s ultimate goal this year is for the varsity team to win a gold medal at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA).
“Any gold medal would do, whether it’s in a four or an eight…even a pair,” he said. “I think for the novices, I want to see the same thing. I want them to think about making the boat go faster.”