The No.8 UCLA women’s rowing team will send a group of leaders to head their campaign for a national championship title.
The Bruins received an at-large selection after competing at the Pac-12 Championships, in which they placed third.
“We’ve had quite a few trips to the NCAAs. This is our second time as a full team,” coach Amy Fuller Kearney said. “It’s great to see the reaction of some of the younger kids; I know it’ll inspire them to keep working for it every year.”
This past week, both Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association national honors and Pac-12 honors were announced to the athletes. Junior Britta Syverson and senior Anastasia Alexander garnered CRCA West All-Region honors and were named to the All-Pac-12 team.
Syverson has maintained a leading role at UCLA as a team motivator, bringing the Bruins back to the championship meet.
“I think there was more disappointment in the fact they didn’t make it last year,” Fuller Kearney said.
“They always expected to be here, so it seems to them they’re back in their rightful place.”
Sophomores Victoria Babson and Carolina Paini were also acknowledged for their outstanding scholarship as they received CRCA Scholar Athlete honors for maintaining a 3.5 grade point average while remaining solid contributors to the team.
“I think it’s an acknowledgement of their hard work in the classroom certainly,” Fuller Kearney said.
“And also, to be nominated to that academic team, they have to be in a starting line-up, so those girls are doing a great job on the water and in the classroom.”
Paini competes with the second varsity eight crew, and first joined the team as a walk-on.
“We’ve been undefeated until the Pac-12 Championships,” Paini said. “So we’ve been doing really well.”
The Bruins will compete in the first round of races on Friday morning for spots in Saturday’s semifinal.
If the boats do not place in the top three during the preliminaries, then they will compete again in a repechage ““ a second set of races that allows the remaining teams a second chance to qualify for the last three semifinal places.
“The competition’s always good. It’s always a very strong field nationally,” Fuller Kearney said.
“The Pac-12 is particularly a strong, stand-out conference. I don’t see anything in terms of the competition being different. I know that the better we do, the higher the expectation will be on the team, which is a great place to be going.”