Crew has strong showing at regatta

    At the annual “”Head of the Charles Regatta”” in Boston last weekend, UCSD women’s crew got more than an experience of a lifetime — they also earned training that will serve them well in the coming season.

    The Tritons were represented by two boats: a lightweight four, which finished seventh out of 16 boats, and an open-eight, which came in 52nd out of 55 boats.

    Over 500 clubs and over 6,000 competitors attended the event, which is the world’s largest regatta. Because it is a noncollegiate event, many of these teams were from other countries.

    Entry to the regatta is guaranteed only for the top 5 percent of last year’s finishers, with a lottery for the remaining spots. The two Triton entries marked the first time in history that UCSD was represented in the competition.

    “”With the fact that we’ve never gone before, I think they looked kindly on our entries,”” head coach Pattie Pinkerton said.

    The course was 5,000 meters long with a staggered start to rank finishers by time. Rule violations such as going over buoys, failing to start 10 seconds after the preceding boat, and failing to yield to a passing boat resulted in time penalties at the end of the race.

    UCSD’s eight-man boat was the first to race for the Tritons, which Pinkerton feels contributed to its finishing time of 20:20.

    “”I just think it was a bit overwhelming,”” Pinkerton said.

    Another obstacle was that only co-captain Sara Patton was a returning varsity member. Her teammates included coxswain Nicole Lloyd, Brooke Albiston, Jen Wolsborn, Amber Hopkins, Stefanie Barriere, Alexis Kleckner, Anastasia Bolaris and Amanda Mamlquist.

    “”We had a lot of people who had never rowed before, so it was a really young team,”” Pinkerton said.

    Despite the influx of novice rowers, Pinkerton was still surprised by their final placement of 52.

    “”I really thought we’d finish in the top half,”” she said. “”We are so much better than the race reflected.””

    After such a heartbreaking race, Pinkerton said she is still proud of her team.

    “”I’m not disappointed in them because I know they did a super job,”” she said. “”But I’m disappointed for them because they tried really hard.””

    The disappointing finish did not affect the Tritons’ positive attitudes.

    “”They behaved really well,”” Pinkerton said. “”They were really mature about it.””

    By Sunday’s race, the lightweight four boat, which finished with a time of 20:23, was ready to go.

    “”They had the advantage that they got to see the course,”” Pinkerton said.

    The four-boat was staffed by coxswain Claire Romelfanger, co-captain Emily Gray, Claire Doyle, Liz Jones and Jaimie Smith. It was the first varsity long-distance race for Jones and Smith.

    Pinkerton said the Tritons did remarkably well, considering how little training the new and returning team members received.

    “”It’s so early in the season for us,”” Pinkerton said. “”We’ve barely been back a month.””

    Pinkerton also said that it was tough to choose which crew members would attend the regatta.

    “”It’s not enough to just be really strong,”” she said. “”You have to race with a team.””

    To make her selection, Pinkerton focused on the 6,000-meter timed pieces, technique and attitude of the crew members. In addition, those competing for a spot on the lightweight boat had to be under 138 lbs., and the weight distribution of the vessel had to average 130 lbs.

    Besides coaching and supporting the two boats representing UCSD, Pinkerton also competed in a single boat. She finished sixth out of 18 boats. She was pleased with her placement, considering she had not been feeling well for several days prior to the event.

    Doing well in this regatta is nothing new to Pinkerton, however — she competed in it in the 1980s when she was training for the National Team and again in the 1990s.

    According to Pinkerton, the course itself hasn’t changed much over the years, but the atmosphere surrounding this prestigious competition has definitely altered.

    “”It’s gotten so much bigger,”” she said.

    Pinkerton’s ranking earned her a guaranteed entry next year.

    Yet when reflecting on the weekend’s races, Pinkerton focused on the benefits for her team rather than herself.

    “”I think we got what we wanted out of the race, which was experience,”” she said.

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