Utilizing the momentum from a freshly minted No. 3 national ranking, the UCLA women’s rowing team will continue to strive for excellence as its regular season nears its end. The Bruins will host the Louisville Cardinals this Saturday at the SoCal Challenge in Marina del Rey.
“We’re ready to continue building on our season’s start,” said sophomore Erin Wenzel.
Wenzel competed in the first varsity eight boat that placed fifth in the San Diego Crew Classic, passing Stanford in the grand final race.
Much like the Bruins, the Cardinals are on the verge of future success. This has created an atmosphere of competition for this weekend’s challenge.
“They have a really up-and-coming program and they’ve had some good racing this year, so they look really strong,” said senior Ariel Handler.
Handler serves as the second varsity eight boat’s coxswain, a vital leader as the hand that steers and the voice that keeps pace.
She had an essential role in obtaining a victory for the second varsity eight boat at the San Diego Crew Classic, and will continue to direct her teammates to the finish line this Saturday. This will mark her last home meet at UCLA.
“The last home meet is kind of scary and exciting,” Handler said. “But until we meet our goals at the end of the year, it won’t sink in.”
The team will also lose senior Anastasia Alexander, a rower in the first varsity eight boat.
“Ariel is one of the captains, and is good at organizing the team and keeping us motivated,” said junior Britta Syverson. “Anastasia always pushes herself during workouts and sets an example for the rest of us to follow.”
These seniors will undoubtedly aid the Bruins in the postseason, which begins next month. This weekend’s race will have an impact on the team’s overall outlook, as the small number of races does not allow for very many opportunities to practice against top-rated schools.
“Because we have so few races, it’s important to do well in all of them,” Syverson said. “It would be good to have another win under our belt because it will give us confidence.”