Experiencing OCC Pirates crew from shore

Sophomore Orange Coast College crew team members Axel Witt, Daniel Amado and Caleb O’Neil push to the finish line in the San Diego Crew Classic on March 24.

The men and women of Orange Coast College’s rowing team traveled to San Diego on March 24 to compete in the 45th annual San Diego Crew Classic.

The San Diego Crew Classic is a two-day, nationally acclaimed regatta with more than 100 races and more than 4,000 athletes from all over the country according to the San Diego Crew Classic website. OCC competed with five boats and about 45 student-athletes.

I, also being on the OCC women’s varsity rowing team, would have competed, but due to certain Crew Classic rules my boat was not eligible to race. Instead, I drove down and supported my teammates.

While competitive rowing isn’t really a thought to most people, the rowing world is very large. From what I’ve experienced, almost everyone knows someone that’s rowed before and at regattas like Crew Classic, it can be pretty easy to walk by an Olympian.

I’ve played other team sports before but nothing compares to rowing. While using basically every muscle in your body to its maximum, you must also have precision, perfect timing, balance, strength and the loyalty of pulling for the eight other athletes in your boat who are doing the same.

Watching Crew Classic instead of competing is a very different, on-edge experience.

The bay is crowded with spectators, athletes, coaches and equipment to the point where you have to watch every step you take. Most boats looks the same with the only difference being each school’s colors.

Being the only junior college in the country with a rowing team, OCC must constantly fight to let it be known that it’s not an underdog against Division I universities. OCC had results all across the board this weekend.

Winds up to 10 mph didn’t make the best racing conditions and gave many teams an added obstacle over both days of racing.

Strong winds that aren’t at least going straight with your boat can cause it to be offset, harder to row in and even push you into the next lane which is a big deduction.

Despite some oar trouble and a slight injury on the water, the women’s novice 8-man managed to win second behind UC San Diego.

The men’s varsity-8 won first in their heat but got second in their final race. The men’s second varsity-8 had the same luck getting fourth in their heat but fifth in their final race.

The men’s novice-8 won first in their heat race but fell short and got second behind UC Berkeley in their final race. Race day was a breeze for the men’s novice-8 B who won first with about seven boat lengths of a lead on UC Santa Barbara.

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