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UCLA rowing wins three races in tri-meet against USC and Loyola Marymount

UCLA rowing varsity four boat glides through the water. The Bruins’ varsity four crew and second varsity four crew notched back-to-back victories in the team’s season-opening tri-meet. (Myka Fromm/Photo editor)

By Ira Gorawara

March 30, 2024 9:16 p.m.

Rosemary Varney took her oars to international waters last summer.

Nearly a year later, the fruits of her labors in the World Rowing U23 Championships have floated to the surface.

“It’s really helped gain perspective,” the senior port said. “Rowing in elite then coming back into college, I’m able to bring the things I’ve learned from a national team environment to here. It’s really helped be able to dial in on some things and be a bit more focused on certain attitude aspects, for example.”

Varney’s varsity eight boat managed a 46.06-second improvement from last season’s final meet in the Pac-12 championships in UCLA rowing’s season-opening tri-meet against USC and Loyola Marymount on Mar. 23. However, the Bruins’ first-string eight boat’s improvement wasn’t enough to secure it a first-place finish, ultimately claiming the runner-up spot 1.57 seconds the Trojans.

Despite three wins through five races, UCLA fell 0.5 points shy of victory as USC prevailed with 3.5 points. The Bruins’ second varsity eight, varsity four and second varsity four boats each crossed the finish line before both of their Southern California foes.

“The biggest thing was that the varsity eight didn’t get out of the blocks very well, so we just need to work on our starting speed,” said coach Previn Chandraratna. “Once we got through the first 500, the two crews (USC and UCLA) went essentially even speed every step of the way, all the way to the finish line, and that is actually an improvement for us.”

Three of UCLA’s five total victories materialized in the first two events of the meet as its varsity four and second varsity four boats punched back-to-back victories. UCLA’s “A” and “B” second varsity four crews both outpaced USC’s sole boat, finishing 28.2 and 16.2 seconds ahead of the Trojans, respectively.

Chandraratna said sealing consecutive wins to begin the day was instrumental to the team’s morale.

“It was gratifying because there will always be questions about overall team speed until you get a race under your belts,” Chandraratna said. “There are a lot of younger athletes in those particular boats and they really came through and just confirmed that we were in the hunt for this regatta.”

The Bruin and Trojan’s varsity four boats finished within a hair’s breadth of one another, separated by just .57 seconds.

In a similar fashion, UCLA’s second varsity eight crew – who recorded the team’s third first-place finish of the meet – finished neck and neck with USC’s boat, achieving a 5.49.70 time while its opponents completed the course in 5.50.63. In the same race, the Bruin crew eclipsed the Lions’ by 23.07 seconds.

Just before the second varsity eights took to the waters of Marina Del Rey, UCLA’s third varsity eight squad, in a race that featured just UCLA and USC, finished with a 6.46.20 figure – 5.3 seconds behind its crosstown adversaries.

“The fours are just very, very aggressive rowers,” Varney said. “They’re very technical, they had very solid races. And the third varsity eights, it’s just cleaning up some of the small things within the race and that will help bring that margin closer and eventually overcome it.”

Chandraratna said the Bruins’ success against the Trojans and the Lions was a testament to the sweat equity they invested in training.

“Those athletes have been putting a lot of hard work in,” Chandraratna said. “Some of those athletes have been rowing one to two years in some cases but are tremendous athletes, and it really showed on Saturday.”

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Ira Gorawara | Assistant Sports editor
Gorawara is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, men's tennis and rowing beats and is a Copy contributor. She was previously a reporter on the men's volleyball and rowing beats. She is also a second-year communication and economics student.
Gorawara is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, men's tennis and rowing beats and is a Copy contributor. She was previously a reporter on the men's volleyball and rowing beats. She is also a second-year communication and economics student.
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