Pirate crew heats up before nationals

OCC’s men’s Novice 8 boat races in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships in Sacramento last weekend.

My boat competed in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in Sacramento last weekend alongside the rest of Orange Coast College’s crew team.

I was one of 55 athletes that OCC entered to compete against schools from all over the western side of the country from neighboring UC Irvine to the University of Central Oklahoma. With WIRA being OCC’s last race before the national championships in Gainesville, Ga., the stakes and level of competition were immensely high.

We took eight-hour bus rides to Lake Natoma in Sacramento on Friday and had a practice day to prepare for the windy race days ahead. We were so nonstop the whole weekend from rigging the boats to practicing and racing that it felt like we barely sat down.

Racing in the Newport Harbor means ultimate protection from any wind making windy races in Sacramento a challenge. Wind speeds and directions were all over this weekend and so were OCC’s results.

My Varsity 4 team boat finished third behind University of Central Oklahoma, a team who placed very well in every race they entered. We placed fifth in our race later that day with harsher conditions. A huge wall of wind halfway through our race made it feel like we instantly slowed down which impacted our finish.

The same luck happened to the women’s Novice 8 as they got second on Saturday behind Seattle Pacific and fifth on Sunday behind UC San Diego.

The men’s Varsity 8 had everyone on the edge of their seats this weekend with high-intensity racing. They finished first with a second of a lead on Saturday and had a fist clenching photo finish on Sunday. After a tough fight the men finished fourth by less than a second to UC San Diego.

It seemed like nothing could stop the men’s Novice 8 from dominating their competition. They finished first in both of their races.

My boat and the others in crew use the WIRA and its quality competition to prepare for nationals, where we will compete against the top universities in the country.

The ACRA National Championships will be held May 26 and 27 in Gainesville, Ga.

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