Crew Raises $16K, Preps for Upcoming Regatta

    Although hosted by the women’s team, the UCSD men’s crew team also participated in Race for the Cure, using the exhibition meet to prepare for their upcoming season.

    “When it comes to Row for the Cure, we truly enjoy showing San Diego that there is a thriving rowing community within the city and that across teams we all care about social causes,” senior varsity rower Jesi Bennett said. “It is a way for us to show our support for those who are or have been inflicted with breast cancer while getting competitive strokes in.”

    More than 540 athletes participated in Row for the Cure 2009, the largest turnout the event’s eight-year history.

    “We had outrigger canoes and a dragon boat full of survivors,” head coach Pattie Pinkerton said. “It was quite inspiring. These women are more than survivors; they are thrivers. I hope by getting out there, they are bringing light to the women who are facing this frightening disease.”

    As an event hosted by UCSD, the Tritons viewed the races — which attracted rowers ages 14 to 85 — as an important team-building event as well as an opportunity improve the rowers’ techniques.

    “[The Row for the Cure] event gives us an opportunity to lock in the technical changes we’ve been working on while trying out new combinations,” head coach Pattie Pinkerton said. “We lost nine seniors last year, so this is an opportunity for women to step up into leadership roles — in the boat and on land.”

    Racing against Arizona State University and Chapman University, the women’s varsity and novice eight boats placed third and fourth, at 18:36 and 19:32, respectively. ASU came in first with a time of 18:06, followed by Chapman at 18:31.

    “The race itself was a good starting point for our fall racing season,” Bennett said. “Since we started training, much of our practices have been focusing on improving technically and learning to move efficiently as a unit with new team dynamics. Row for the Cure enabled us to put our newly acquired skills from practices to use and get back into the feeling of really pushing ourselves physically and mentally.”

    The men’s team — sporting baby- pink shorts and white T-shirts throughout the event — took first place overall. The Tritons’ collegiate eight boat trumped Chapman with a time of 15:35.

    The Panthers finished three seconds later in second place, while UCSD’s second boat ended with a 15:44 third-place finish.

    “Although Row for the Cure is put on by our women’s team, we love helping them out in any way possible — and if that means racing each other for fun, then we’ll gladly do it,” junior rower Justin Gordon said. “Coming into this year, we’re expecting great things from the team. We’re returning more members from our 2009 varsity boat than most programs in our division, and we have a bunch of recruited freshmen who are pushing the varsity guys to step up.”

    Last year’s men had their most successful season in school history when they made their first-ever appearance at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships last spring.

    The team is looking to improve its performance after turning in slightly disappointing results from the Nov. 1 Newport Autumn Rowing Festival. Racing in a field of 30 boats that included top teams such as UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford and the University of Southern California, the Tritons placed 12th, 14th and 21th in the open eight boat event.

    “It’d be useless just to say we need to get faster, but this weekend did show us that we need to work on how we approach races,” Gordon said. “We are fortunate to have this wake-up call in the fall rather than the spring.”

    On Nov. 8, both of UCSD’s crew teams are competing in the San Diego Fall Classic held at Mission Bay.

    The Tritons — who face the challenge of starting later than most schools — hope to continue improving competition skills like they displayed at Row for the Cure.

    “We have been putting our trainings towards speed work in order to be competitive with other crews,” said Bennett. “Most teams have been on the water much longer than us due to their semester scheduling and our late quarterly start. This weekend, we are looking forward to putting the benefits of our trainings on to the water in order to finish with a stellar performance at our last fall regatta.”

    Readers can contact Brianna Lee at [email protected].

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