Our team arrived in sunny San Diego on Thursday with high hopes for the weekend. We stayed with multiple host families for the duration of our time there. The host families provided our entire team with beds, food and hospitality that we are extremely grateful for.
We were able to hold two practices Thursday and Friday, both consisting of short steady states with high 10s at race pace. Conditions Saturday morning were less than ideal, with a noticeable starboard crosswind and slightly choppy water.
The Varsity 8+ started things off, racing UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UCLA, Puget Sound, and Lewis & Clark. The varsity 8 battled with UCSB and UCSD the majority of the race for the top three spots. They put up a time of 6:22.3 to finish 3rd in their heat to advance to the petite final. Their time was the 3rd overall fastest time across all the heats.
The Novice 8+ raced later in the morning, facing off with Cal, UC Irvine, Long Beach, and Sac State. In the first thousand meters, the novice 8 and UC Irvine were bow bell to bow bell, battling for second place. Then, after holding off a move from Irvine, the novice 8 countered with a move of their own, moving to a boat length ahead and never looking back. They finished in 2nd behind Cal with a time of 6:55.23 to advance to the grand final.
Our alumni boat had a rather interesting race on Saturday. During the warm-up the stroke rigger broke, and with only 10 minutes until race time, the alumni were forced to row with only 7 men. Impressively, they were still able to come in 2nd place with a time of 7:13.85, advancing to the grand final.
On Sunday the conditions were much better, with hardly any wind and calm waters.
The Novice 8+ were the first to compete, racing in the grand final with California, OCC, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Clara, and UCLA. Finishing in 5th, the novice 8 gained valuable experience racing against the best crews on the west coast. They posted a time of 6:38.81, taking almost 17 seconds off Saturday’s race.
The Varsity 8+ competed in the petite final with Purdue, SDSU, UC Davis, USC, and UCLA. The varsity 8 raced with a chip on their shoulder, knowing their initial heat time was better than the majority of the field in the grand final. They led the race from start to finish, and held off a late charge by Purdue to win the petite final. The varsity 8 finished with a time of 6:29.17.
The Alumni boat were the last Notre Dame boat to compete, placing 4th in the grand final with a time of 6:40.71.
Competing in the San Diego Crew Classic proved to be a great start to the season for the Men’s Rowing Club. Both the Novice 8+ and Varsity 8+ now know what they need to work on heading into Lubber’s Cup two weeks from now. We are excited to continue improving and turn our San Diego experience into success later in the season.