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Daily 49er: LBSU’s Women’s Club Rowing Team Initiative Sparks Faith in Captain


Photo courtesy of Mark Bledsoe

Miranda Andrade-Ceja, Staff Writer

Rowing a boat is hard when only one person is handling the oars.

Racing for the LBSU women’s team since 2013, club President Ariana Gastelum is ecstatic to see the club team go from having a single new recruit for the 2015 spring semester, to bringing in over 20 novices after weeks of diligent recruiting in the fall.

“They’re awesome, the novices,” Gastelum said. “Our goal is to mentor the novices not only for rowing, but for their lives.”

Unlike other LBSU students who can sleep in, the rowers must wake up at 5:30 a.m. to begin warming up for a long morning’s worth of strenuous practice consisting of full-body exercise, sweat, and team-building.

After finding that she couldn’t attend one of the weekly exercise sessions, new recruit and transfer student Chloe Volz organized for a group of novice girls to have their own training session. Volz was recruited by the team during the first week of school outside the recreation center, and is extremely excited and eager to be involved with the team.

“I’ve always had social anxiety, and I was really nervous about joining a team—it’s really intimidating,” Volz said. “But I have to say, I’ve just started to get to know the novice girls, and they’re really cool. The varsity girls are amazing, they’re so supportive and patient.”

The surge of support and initiative was what led Gastelum to place a huge amount of faith and trust in her team. Over her past two years of rowing for LBSU, Gastelum has worked tirelessly to provide the team with the support and attention she feels they deserve.

“I think those who commit to the team are already naturally determined to perform well,” Gastelum said. “So, the drive to take initiative has always been there—but now the execution is what can finally take place. Now that we’re a larger size, we have people from different backgrounds willing to help in any area they can.”

Gastelum said that with this growth, the officers would not be as overwhelmed with their responsibility for the club team. Now, the officers will be able to delegate day-to-day responsibility while being able to look towards the future.

“With this help, we can focus on opportunities that we’ve never taken before. We can’t say, ‘well, maybe next year we can do this.’ No. This is the year we finally have the chance to plan more events; this is the year we can beat our local rivals; this is the year we have something to show to CSULB and our community.”

Gastelum said she feels incredible pride for the growing team, having high aspirations for their future but wishing to focus primarily on team-building and mentoring for the fall semester.

The LBSU women’s rowing team will participate in their first regatta on Sunday, Oct 4 for the Bay Series 5k, where many of the novices will get their first taste of what it is to competitively row.