November 2, 2014
Cal State University Long Beach club rowing team, Beach Crew, gauged its skill levels against other schools at the first home meet of the fall season at Naples Island over the weekend.
The women’s varsity-eight team came in third place, at 16 minutes, 50 seconds. University of California, Santa Barbara and Orange Coast College came in just ahead of them.
The men’s varsity-eight team came in fifth place at 14 minutes, 39 seconds. University California, Los Angeles and University of Southern California came in behind them.
President Jane Close Conoley attended the meet to show her support of CSULB’s club sports.
“I love seeing our student athletes,” Conoley said. “I love to find things that we have a stellar history in and highlighting it.”
CSULB’s rowing team is the oldest, “continuously operating collegiate sport,” said Kenneth Glenn, the President of the Board of Directors for Beach Crew Alumni Association. The rowing team has been active since 1956.
Glenn said CSULB rowers have a history of being cyclical in their success. Beach Crew rowers have been ranked top ten nationally before, and have been in the lowest 25 percent. Glenn said the team has been on the rise for the past few years.
“I see good things for this season,” Glenn said. “We’re doing better than last year, and last year did better than the year before that.”
Competitive meets do not begin until spring for CSULB’s rowing club team. Fall races are staggered endurance-based races and are 4,200 meters long, whereas spring competitions are side-by-side sprints for 2000 meters.
Rowing teams’ times at the fall meets factor in to which lane, or “seed,” teams are assigned at the San Diego Crew classic race and the Western Championships in Sacramento in April and May, respectively.
“It is always good to have as low a seed as possible because these are somewhat unfair courses,” Simpson said.
Gastelum explained that the higher the lane number, the closer to the ocean and the worse currents and wind conditions become.
This weekend’s meet comprised of head meets, which means each team’s boat is staggered by 10 seconds. Rowers are competing against the clock instead of each other.
Gastelum said this way, if one team passed a boat that is ahead, that team’s time is automatically the faster time. She said the CSULB varsity women’s team was able to pass UCI.
She also said that Beach Crew is using the fall season to focus on technique. Gastelum said during spring, rowers focus on power and how to use already perfected techniques in order to have more power.
Trevor Peach, a varsity rower and junior business-marketing student, said the fall meets are crucial to learning where and how to improve.
“We have to focus on everything… technique, handle heights, set, timing, posture…” Peach said.
Simpson said fall meets are particularly beneficial for novice teams, or beginners, because it is “their first opportunity to actually row in the ocean against other rowers.”
“This weekend’s meet was good because it showed us where we are and how we need to improve,” Larice Pelzer, a novice rower and freshman international business major, said.