Crew comes through in the clutch

    The women’s crew team displayed a strong performance against Long Beach State on March 13, but the loss of several key players to illness and other circumstances weakened the team’s effort at the Berg Cup, held at Newport Harbor on March 27.

    UCSD’s women’s Varsity Eight came in at 7 minutes, 12.8 seconds, decisively outpacing Long Beach State, which finally crossed the finish line in 7.31.4.

    However, UCSD’s women’s Varsity Four, was outrun by Long Beach State. The Tritons, with a time of 8.29.7, came in behind Long Beach State, which finished in 8.12.1.

    The sheer depth of UCSD’s teams propelled the varsity team forward.

    The first race at the Long Beach State regatta was the Varsity Four, stroked by senior Stephanie Barriere. Senior Alexis Kleckner, and sophomores Melanie Kaelberer and Kati Morris competed with her.

    Though UCSD came off the line with Long Beach State, the 49ers pushed forward with a high-stroke rating of 36 strokes a minute, while UCSD raced at 31 strokes.

    “We looked stronger and better technically, but they pulled away, and they had their blades in the water more than we did, so Long Beach won by several lengths,” head coach Patti Pinkerton said.

    The team did not want to make the same mistake again of losing by a lesser rating again. The Varsity Eight defeated Long Beach State with a quickened stroke rating.

    “I had time to talk with the varsity before they went out, and we decided we had to go outside our comfort zone and take the rating to Long Beach,” Pinkerton said.

    The tactic worked, and UCSD’s Varsity Eight boat pulled ahead of Long Beach State, thereby lifting the stroke rating to 34 against the 49ers’ 36. UCSD won by several crucial lengths of open water.

    “The best thing was the time of 7:12.7, which was the fastest time a varsity crew has rowed since I’ve been at UC San Diego,” Pinkerton said.

    The Varsity Eight boat was stroked by senior co-captain Liz Jones, and had seniors Carly Moore and Chelsea Smith, junior Liz Record and sophomores Cara Kuebert, Lauren Ruiz, Dannon Hodge and Meghan Kelly.

    Pinkerton was pleased with UCSD’s efforts.

    “I thought the entire eight did an excellent job, but [sophomore] coxswain Ariana Pilram called an outstanding race,” Pinkerton said.

    The team went into the Long Beach State regatta with several key athletes stricken by illness, ineligibility regulations and graduate school interviews.

    The team prepared for the meet with base conditioning and a bit of speed work. The team is nonetheless at a base rate of 30-31.

    The Tritons next set out to meet a number of Division I rivals, including UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and University of San Diego at the Berg Cup, hosted by Orange Coast College in Newport Harbor.

    UCSD encountered tough competition from the Division I foes.

    “It was our goal to close the gap against UC Irvine … they beat us by 23 seconds the last time we raced, three weeks ago,” Pinkerton said.

    In the Varsity Eight race, UCSD crossed the finish line last in 7:00.62. Crosstown rival University of San Diego finished first with 6:42.8, UC Santa Barbara second in 6:43.73 and UC Irvine third in 6:53.00.

    “The eight came in fourth, but only six seconds behind Irvine, with a record time for UCSD of 7.00.62,” Pinkerton said.

    The second Varsity Eight boat entered by UCSD also finished last in 7:27.41. University of San Diego came in at 6:56.6. UC Irvine (7:00.7) placed second, Orange Coast College (7:04.47) placed third and UC Santa Barbara placed fourth (7:12.11).

    Though the team already had a Varsity Eight team ready, an injury forced Lauren Ruiz out. Stephanie Barriere moved from the Varsity Four to the Varsity Eight.

    “We were very excited about our improvement and our time … [but] we still under-rated the other crews; we raced at 31 strokes a minute and the other crews were all at 36,” Pinkerton said. “I feel strongly that we will only get faster as we begin lifting our rating, while their speed will stay the same, or begin to decay as we get to the sharp end of the season,” Pinkerton said.

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