Photo provided by Sydney Abad
LBS Rowing varsity women finished third out of eight in their heat, improving by 50 seconds since last year.
By Ariana Gastelum
Long Beach State Rowing’s effort to become increasingly competitive against opposing teams was shown at the first Naples Island Collegiate Rowing Challenge (NICRC) at Marine Stadium in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 1 and 2.
Saturday races were made up of a series 850-meter sprints for the alumni and novices. They began at the boathouse and finished at the end of Marine Stadium.
Winners of these sprints were not recorded. Although LBS Rowing’s novices have been rowing for a couple months now, they were competing against other teams that had been rowing for either just as long or for only a few weeks. Some of the other schools raced with only six rowers at a time, and others rowed with squared blades.
Men’s rowing teams from Arizona State University (ASU), Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Orange Coast College (OCC), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) competed in the novice races against Long Beach.
“The sprints were fun, and I really feel like it was easier to push myself because you are right next to your competition, and you can tell when you are losing,” men’s novice rower Wendel Kuhn said. “What I believe is really important is having that first race down because I know what to expect and know how our entire boat performs under that pressure.”
Teams from ASU, Chapman University, LMU, OCC and University of California Irvine (UCI) raced in the women’s sprints.
On Sunday, varsity and novice teams raced a 4,000-meter course around Naples Island.
“NICRC felt like home turf, and especially with our local rivals, we tried our best to see where we place among them,” varsity rower Sydney Abad said.
The women’s team raced one varsity eight and two varsity fours. The varsity eight finished third out of eight behind University of California Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) A-boat and OCC’s A-boat with a time of 16 minutes and 50.28 seconds.
Last year, varsity finished fifth, 1 minute and 22 seconds behind UCSB, who finished last year as well with a similar time, according to women’s head coach Ian Simpson. Since then, the women’s varsity team has improved by 50 seconds.
“The varsity performance would have been good enough for second place in last year’s race,” Simpson said. “However, Orange Coast College also had a very good performance, improving by 40 seconds over last year, good enough to keep them 15 seconds ahead of varsity…However, I have no doubt that our varsity will close the gap and eventually pass OCC in the spring.”
The men’s team competed one varsity eight and two novice eights. Varsity finished fifth out of eight with a time of 14 minutes and 39.74 seconds, finishing 10 seconds before UCLA’s B-boat and also before USC’s B-boat and ASU.
“Head of the American line up was a little bit different and more advance than the Naples Island line up,” men’s head coach Rob Edwards said. “But the Naples Island line up did well for themselves…They’re just going to get better and better throughout the season.”
This year’s varsity team had enough for two competitive eights, the team lost four varsity members just after Head of the American.
“I only had one boat last year, and now I only have one boat and a half, but I started with two,” Edwards said. “It’s nice to have the ability to change up people if I have to…It builds a little bit more competition and a little bit more competitive edge.”
The varsity team also practices in the evening on their own three times a week, and it has shown in practice, according to Edwards.
“They are getting much better with their ratio, and they’re getting much better with their overall strength,” he said. “This is one of the strongest crews I’ve ever had physically.”
For official results, visit http://www.row2k.com/results/files/20141102NaplesIsland.pdf.