Women's Rowing Team is Building a Solid Foundation

    The rowing team has been improving by leaps and bounds and looks to be even better than last year.

    “”We’re still a young team,”” said UCSD women’s crew head coach Patti Pinkerton. “”Our big issue last year was that we did not have much of a varsity so we lacked leadership. The challenge was to teach all of the skills to the novices without that leadership. They obviously met the challenge because they finished off the season really well.””

    2000’s team was as young as they come.

    Now, with a year of experience behind it and a solid foundation below it, UCSD crew is gearing up for the big dogs.

    “”Now our challenge is our lightweight, because that’s where our key varsity girls were,”” Pinkerton said. “”We have returning lightweights in that boat. We know they’re in the ballpark because they got ranked last year.””

    Two veterans who will lead the squad are Heather Beckman and Julie Snyder.

    “”They’re both four-year rowers, so they provide a lot of leadership in the boat,”” Pinkerton said.

    There are also a couple of younger talents in Emily Gray and Carrie Blemker looking to make their mark.

    “”We have a some really exciting rookies,”” Pinkerton said.

    Everyone on the rowing squad will get a chance to prove her metal.

    “”Because we’re such a developing squad, I move people around a lot,”” Pinkerton said. “”I want them to get as much racing experience as possible. We’re really trying to fast track them. We have girls with sheer power that make up for a lot of other things.””

    Crew competes in an open division. All of the Division I schools have larger crew programs, but UCSD still remains competitive.

    “”There’s definitely a gap between the top Division I schools and the top Division II schools,”” Pinkerton said.

    As far as fellow Division II schools are concerned, UC Davis is the school to beat.

    “”We’re at a disadvantage because Davis is at Division II,”” Pinkerton said. “”They’re a scholarship school. They have a more aggressive policy toward athletics. But I think we have as much talent as they do.””

    UCSD’s rowers have April 28 circled in their calendars. That is the date of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship.

    “”We will be peeking toward Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship,”” Pinkerton said. “”Last year the race was in April, which was right in the middle of the racing season. We pretty much rowed through that. It was very awkward last year.””

    Things are right on track for this year’s crew and for the program in general, Pinkerton’s second at the helm.

    “”I think we’re moving faster,”” she said. “”Usually it takes four years to develop a program. We have a lot of talent. Our challenge is to close the gap.””

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