Novice steps up for men's crew at Crew Classic

    Crews from around the United States gathered last weekend for the San Diego Crew Classic, a regatta that takes place in Mission Bay. The Triton men’s crew’s varsity eight came back to win the third final heat on April 6 after a difficult heat the day before, and UCSD’s novice eight made the grand final heat for the first time in the organization’s history.

    Tibora Girczyc-Blum
    Guardian

    Before the Classic, the biggest event for UCSD before the state championships, injuries forced head coach Michael Filippone to make last minute adjustments.

    “”Lots of changes and one major injury left us at a disadvantage. We were capable of a lot more speed in the heat,”” Filippone said.

    Junior Eric Hardman’s back injury, which prevented him from competing, had the greatest effect on the boat. It led to the promotion of novice Todd Myer into the varsity eight, and forced captain Scott Destaffney to change seats in the boat and row on the port side of the boat for the first time in his career.

    “”After rowing starboard, the port side is difficult because it uses the opposite motion and works the opposite muscles you have been training all along,”” Destaffney said.

    In the first heat, UCSD drew some of the quickest boats in the competition: Massachusetts, USC, CSU Long Beach and UCLA.

    “”I felt we could have beaten at least two of the crews in our heat, but the boat looked the worst I have seen them on Saturday,”” Filippone said.

    Their finish in the heat qualified the Tritons for the third final.

    The Tritons won the 2,000-meter final with a time of 6:16.8, beating Colorado, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount and Notre Dame. The Tritons had the fastest boat in each 500-meter split, except at the start.

    “”You can teach a crew to be faster at the start, but you can’t teach base speed,”” Filippone said. “”We have the base speed so I am confident we will be competitive in the finals after working on flying starts.””

    The novice performance in the heat on April 5 qualified the Tritons for the novice grand final heat for the first time in UCSD crew history.

    “”I believe this shows well for the coaching staff. David Mac has done a great job with the novice squad,”” Filippone said.

    The performance of the novice crew speaks well for the future of the program.

    “”It is important for the novices to do well, because they are our future,”” Filippone said.

    Now that the Classic is over, the crews take the next two weeks to prepare for the regatta in Sacramento.

    “”I am going to use the results of the Crew Classic to build the teams up instead of tearing them down; we just have a lot more speed. It’s just a matter of execution,”” Filippone said.

    Destaffney, the Triton captain, is also optimistic about UCSD’s chances in the final races of the season.

    “”I see a huge opportunity to improve. We have six strong guys and two amazing freshmen. If we continue at the rate we have been working, we have a good chance of winning,”” he said.

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