The UC Irvine Crew team raced in the Long Beach Pancake Regatta, the first of the season, and placed third in points for the Queen Mary Trophy at the Long Beach Marine Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 13. It was a good showing for the women’s team, grabbing second in their sparse field while the men’s team faced early struggles.
Irvine’s mens crew has been around for as long as the university itself, being amongst the few founding sports, but the program recently experienced a sizable turnover. Head coach AJ Brooks left this summer after an eight-year tenure, leaving a vacuum in leadership. This came as only two varsity members from UC Irvine’s 2021-2022 varsity crew returned for the new season.
UCI boasts a young and inexperienced boat, and the crew they put out for this regatta was entirely green — this was the first varsity race for every single member of the boat that raced Sunday.
That inexperience combined with the newness of the course, as Irvine had not rowed in this regatta for many years, made for a challenging row for the UCI men’s varsity crew. Consistent timing and strong coxing helped buoy the effort, but inconsistent pressure and individual idiosyncrasies ultimately left them in seventh place of 13.
This is a place that these ‘Eaters can grow from, though. Their performance handily beat Long Beach State and San Diego State University, alongside putting up a comparable time to Loyola Marymount University. As the season goes along, time will tell if the rowers are able to get physically strong and mentally aligned enough to tackle old rivals Orange Coast College (OCC) and UCLA.
The UCI women’s varsity crew had a better row, taking second in a field of only four. This relatively sparse field makes it harder to draw conclusions as the Irvine crew only saw serious competition from their rival OCC.
The OCC Pirates were able to best the Anteater’s time by thirty-one seconds, a commanding victory, but a deficit that could be made up over the winter season. As the crew gets more time under new head coach Mike Holmes, they might be able to replicate his success in UC Santa Barbara and take back Newport from the Pirates.
Both crews will be winding down into the winter season, which is defined by hard practices and grueling conditioning to prepare for sprints in the spring. Time will tell if Irvine will be able to overcome their tumultuous offseason and contend with their old time rivals, or if they will continue to slug it out for best of the rest.
Benjamin Hendricks is a Sports Staff Writer for the fall 2022 quarter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.