SCU Bronco Crew Aims for Grand Finals in San Diego
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's crew and women's rowing teams will be in San Diego this weekend competing at the San Diego Crew Classic on Mission Bay. The trip is always fun for the Bronco student-athletes and one of the hallmarks of their season.
"It's always nice to enjoy some beautiful sunny Southern California weather and allows some great bonding time as a team," said Santa Clara senior Chris Freeburg. "It's a weekend the entire team really looks forward to. The regatta lands after Spring Break so we get to see an immediate payoff for all the time and effort we put in during the tough week of workouts. The race also offers great competition, including our West Coast rivals and a respectable showing from the rest of the country's top rowing programs."
The Santa Clara men are in the midst of their 2011 competition season, which culminates the weekend of April 30-May 1 at Lake Natoma near Sacramento. The Broncos have had two races thus far in 2011, rowing at the UC Davis Invitational March 4-5, then at the Sacramento State Invite March 12.
"The last week during Spring Break workouts we've seen a number of guys step up, row really strong and compete for a seat in the Varsity 8," said Freeburg. "It certainly hasn't made creating the lineup very easy, but competition will only make our boat faster so it is great for the team. And over the break, we started to hone in on our rhythm, a relaxed but powerful intensity. It can be quite hard to find this rhythm as a boat, with eight rowers all attempting to balance patience with aggression, and it's the key to finding a new level of speed as a boat. It will be exciting to continue to work towards this level as we approach WIRA's (the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships)."
Last year the Broncos had a mixed showing in San Diego. SCU struggled to find its rhythm in the first heat and failed to qualify for Grand Finals (the top-tier medal heat) as they were beat out by some strong competition. However, SCU was able to rebound the next day and powered its way to a top finish in the Petite Finals (the second-tier heat).
Historically, San Diego has served as good preparation for the end of the season and the team has done well, often racing on Sunday in the Grand Finals heat though often struggling to perform at their capability on Sunday.
"San Diego is a tough race because you have to be mentally and physically ready to race both Saturday and Sunday, and the conditions can be quite variable," says Freeburg. "The racing environment is better than anything you can recreate in practice and it serves as a great stepping stone on our way to WIRA's."