Photos by Faii Athiprayoon
By Sean McCrea
Men’s Varsity Rower
I was driving down PCH en route to the Orange Coast College boathouse when I spotted four girls wearing Long Beach Rowing gear running down the street. The look in their eyes was calm and fierce at the same time. They were locked in and ready to go, even during their on-land warm-up jog. The line up for the Long Beach Women’s V4+ from stern to bow was Destanie Brush in stroke seat (3rd year rower), Penny Gallardo in 3 seat(4th year), Megan DaVore in 2 seat(2nd year), and Brooke Myrick in the bow (1st year). Being such a diverse group when it comes to experience, this would be an easy crew to overlook if you were a competitor. But no one can deny the hard work these girls put in during the “off-season” and continue to do so now while in-season. The race was 2000 meters long, the competition was OCC, UCI, USD, Chapman, and Humboldt State. Some tough crews to say the least.
The Long Beach girls jumped out to first place within the first 250 meters of the race. Followed closely by UCI and OCC. Chapman had an equipment malfunction and actually stopped rowing for a brief moment. Unfortunately, they were beyond the breakage point of restarting the race, so they picked it back up and did what they could to finish the race. By the 1000 meter mark Long Beach had open water on UCI and now Humboldt St. in 3rd. The entire women’s team plus a few from the men’s team and some parents and fans were all cheering from the docks at OCC and on the 2nd floor balcony of their boathouse, trying to give the girls in the boat some extra energy. But these girls did not need it today, with 500 meters to go they opened up even more water and keep widening the gap of victory all the way to the finish. They rowed well together and made it look effortless, or at least did so for the few hundred meters I saw them for in the body of the race. It was an undisputed victory for the women’s V4+ on Saturday, holding the lead from start to finish.
The women also sent out novice and varsity 8+’s. The Varsity 8 was technically a composite boat meaning that it was mixed varsity and novice, mostly varsity though. The 8’s rowed their hearts out but came up short this weekend against some stellar competition. The positive is that they have something to build off of now. We’re looking forward to seeing what these girls can do in a few weeks at San Diego Crew Classic, that’s for sure. Until then, its back to training hard on the daily.