Photos by Mark Bledsoe
By Ariana Gastelum
Twenty hours of studying per week, plus approximately 2-3 hours of rowing practice everyday, plus a job as a Housing and Residential Life multimedia technician equals one strong-minded individual. Varsity rower Patrick Tilley handles all of these tasks in addition to being the men’s team’s vice president.
This is Tilley’s third year at Long Beach State University (LBSU). He plans to graduate at the end of spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in general biology.
Tilley has been a student-athlete for almost a decade. Before crew, he ran cross-country and track and field for seven years. He ran for his high school team in San Diego and Mesa College.
Though he originally planned to run track and field at LBSU, Tilley decided to try out for the rowing team in the fall of 2012.
“After being an athlete for so long, I feel like I’ll always be doing something competitive,” he said. “I always see myself being able to push myself farther – not only as an athlete, but as a person as well.”
In comparison to cross country and track and field, Tilley liked the competitiveness of both sports, but he was also attracted to the sense of support in rowing.
“The thing with cross country and track and rowing is that cross country and track are individual sports, and so it’s more along the line where you can’t drag your teammates along,” he said. “But with rowing, you still need everyone on the same page, or else you’re not going to win. So, that’s what we had, which was really nice.”
When Tilley first joined the team, there were only 16 other men. In the years after, he worked his way up to treasurer and vice president.
“Obviously a competitive rowing team needs numbers to do really well,” he said. “Myself and [Jacob] Bledsoe and a couple others who joined my novice year, we were all novices together, and we take it upon ourselves to build the team and make it better for everybody. I want everyone to experience what I do. I want that level of competition and that level of success.”
With school, crew and work as a multimedia technician, self-control and time-management skills are essential. According to Tilley, school comes first, then work and then crew. However, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Self-control is also one of the most important aspects of rowing in Tilley’s opinion.
“You need to row well in order to move in the boat,” he explained. “In order to row well, you need to have control in your drive and your recovery. Control is body control, so you need to have good core strength. Sit up, maintain your body strength or else you’ll lose power on your drive.”
Tilley has had several highlights throughout his rowing career, but one that particularly stands out was when he finished fourth in the varsity four at grand finals of the 2014 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta. One final goal for his last regatta would be to finally medal at WIRA.
“I would really love to medal in any boat, really,” he said. “I’ll row whatever boat I get put in. I might complain here and there, but I think at the end of the day, I’ll just be happy with being put in a competitive boat.”
Men’s varsity four of 2014 with coxswain Kaitlyn Gold (not pictured), Patrick Tilley, Grey Mouser, Jacob Bledsoe and Jake Skoll.