The Bruins took home a top-three finish in just one of their five finals races over the weekend.
UCLA rowing traveled to San Diego this weekend to compete against schools from around the country in their first road meet of the season.
Senior second varsity eight stroke KC Yeagley said that, after only having meets with one or two opponents so far this season, getting to race against more than a dozen teams this weekend raised the level of competition.
“Instead of having just two boats in your race, there’s like, six,” Yeagley said. “It’s more competitive because you can’t see your opponents directly, unless they’re right next to you, so you really have to rely on your coxswain to give you information about the other boats in all six lanes.”
Senior varsity four stroke Mikayla Hart said that the large-scale meet was also great preparation for the Pac-12 and NCAA championships later this year.
“It gives us a glance at the field this year,” Hart said. “It’s our first time seeing boats from across the country, so it’ll help us know what the scene is going to be like when we get into bigger meets.”
All four of the boats UCLA raced Saturday advanced to Sunday’s finals, as the Bruins’ varsity four and second varsity eight boats took second place in their races on Saturday. In addition, the varsity eight and novice eight boats each finished third.
On Sunday, UCLA’s second varsity four, which hadn’t raced on Saturday, took second place in their final with a time of 7:56.015, coming just behind Oklahoma’s 7:47.291.
The rest of the Bruins’ boats didn’t place in the top three for the finals, as UCLA’s varsity eight and second varsity eight crews finished sixth with times of 7:03.272 and 7:16.507, respectively. The varsity four crew finished with a time of 8:04.774 for fifth-place, and the novice eight placed fourth at 7:41.894.
Hart said that when the team is competing on the road, they work hard to keep their routine as close to what they do at home, to make themselves feel more comfortable.
“We really try to create a routine when we’re home and at school,” Hart said. “We really try to mimic that routine once we get on to the road, … once you take that first stroke on the race, it doesn’t matter where you are, you are doing the same exact 2000 meters.”
With three weeks before the team’s next meet at the Clemson Invitational, Hart said that the team is going to take advantage of the break from classes to intensify their training schedule.
“We’re always trying to build more fitness and trying to get faster, … trying to tighten up our technique and become more cohesive within each boat,” Hart said. “Because we don’t have school, we’re able to focus just on rowing.”