Men’s crew opens season with two wins

    The UCSD men’s crew team opened its season at 2-0 for the third year in a row with landslide victories over UC Irvine on Feb. 26 and Cal State Long Beach on March 5 at Tecolote Shores in Mission Bay, but this is a very different UCSD team than the league has seen in the past.

    “We are definitely a lot larger than the guys of previous years,” varsity team captain Steve Oliver said.

    UC Irvine was the first school to compete against the larger and stronger Triton team. UCSD placed first in four of the five races, and the varsity men’s eight boat finished six seconds ahead of Irvine.

    “The victory was a great way to start off the season, and we are going to keep on improving,” varsity coach Mark Davis said.

    The varsity team is not the only team that has come a long way since the beginning of training. All players have participated in extensive preseason workouts that included both short- and long-distance races. Short-distance races range from three to five minutes, while the longer races are about 60 to 90 minutes long.

    The junior varsity and novice teams showed they were ready for the challenge against Irvine. The men’s junior varsity eight boat finished ahead of UC Irvine by 12 seconds. UCSD finished at 6 minutes, 24.9 seconds, and UC Irvine cruised in soon after at 6:36.9.

    “We have a great group of guys on the JV,” Davis said. “They are very strong rowers.”

    The domination over the Anteaters continued in the novice eight race as UCSD cruised to a victory, finishing at 6:30.5. UC Irvine followed behind at 6:41.6.

    “It is always great to beat Irvine,” Davis said. “They are always quick at the beginning of the year.”

    The novice victory was the first for many members of the team.

    “Most of the rowers are competing for their first time, and they are just a bunch of walk-on athletes,” novice team captain Joe Gram said.

    Cal State Long Beach suffered the same fate as UC Irvine on March 5, as UCSD took first in all three races. In the varsity four, UCSD finished slightly ahead, crossing the finish line at 7:09.08. The 49ers clocked in at 7:17.2.

    “Everyone pulled their weight,” Oliver said. “If everybody continues to do their job, we will have satisfactory results.”

    The men’s varsity eight also placed first, with a time of 6:38.0. The race did not start out smoothly, however: The Cal State Long Beach boat collided with the UCSD boat at the beginning of the race. Both teams came to a complete stop, but officials refused to restart the race. The boats continued after the collision, and the 49ers came in at 7:16.3.

    “I am surprised the race was not restarted,” Oliver said. “But it doesn’t matter, we dominated anyway.”

    The conditions were pleasant for all of the races; as the tide was going out, the water was flat, and there was very little wind.

    The team will now turn its focus to the upcoming race against Santa Clara University, who is expected be a tough competitor, on March 25.

    “We are all looking forward to some good fast racing,” Davis said. “I have no idea how quick they will be, but we will see soon enough.”

    The players also anticipate strong indiviual showings for the coming meet against the Broncos.

    “I am sure that everyone will put forth their best, and we will win for sure,” Oliver said.

    Santa Clara is also physically similar to the UCSD team.

    “They are some pretty big guys, but I do know that one thing is for sure,” Oliver said. “Whoever crosses the finish line first will finish the race first. Everything else is unpredictable.”

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