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UCLA rowing wraps up regular season with a win at the Dexter Lake Invitational

A UCLA rowing third varsity eight boat glides through the water. A piece of Gonzaga’s boat fell off Saturday during a race, crashing into UCLA’s boat. (Myka Fromm/Photo editor)

By Gabrielle Siegel

May 1, 2024 3:05 p.m.

Rowing races typically go straight from start to finish.

On Saturday morning, the Bruins’ route took a detour.

About 350 meters into UCLA rowing’s third varsity eight race of the Dexter Lake Invitational, a piece of Gonzaga’s boat fell off, causing the Bulldog’s boat to run into the Bruin’s boat.

Senior Austyn Sirmon said the incident resulted in the race being stopped at around 450 meters by officials and restarted without the Gonzaga crew.

The port/starboard added that her boat felt prepared for the restarted race against USC and then-No. 17 Oregon State after holding the top position before the delay.

“We were pretty excited going into that second start knowing that we were up on USC, up on Oregon State and up on Gonzaga – just knowing we could do it again and hopefully with an even bigger margin,” Sirmon said.

With a time of 7:00.2, the Bruins then marked their 11th and final victory of the regular season.

“Finishing six seconds ahead of USC was huge, especially because we raced them in March and that was not the outcome,” Sirmon said. “It’s cool to flip the script on the season – just shows that our hard work is paying off.”

The Bruins came out on top of the Beavers in all three varsity eight races. Both the first and second UCLA varsity eight teams earned second place with times of 6:31.14 and 6:41.19 in their respective events.

UCLA competed in five races through the invitational in Lowell, Oregon. Loyola Marymount and Oklahoma also competed at the event.

The top varsity four crew placed second with a time of 7:27:37, and the second varsity four crew earned third at 7:38:83.

“The trust and the energy has been the best I’ve experienced since being on this team,” said sophomore port Audrey Loeb, who competed in the varsity eight boat.

Loeb said the team’s foundation built up in the offseason was integral to its success. She added that every boat beating USC at least once this season was a big goal for the program.

“Beating the USC 1V8 this past weekend was really special,” Loeb said.

Coach Previn Chandraratna said the team’s strong overall performance at Lake Dexter reflects the culture the program has forged throughout the season.

“That’s the biggest driving force behind the improvements,” Chandraratna said. “People trust each other, love each other and really want to pull for each other, and that’s showing on the race course more and more.

The Bruins will commence postseason competition at their last-ever Pac-12 championships in Sacramento on May 19.

Chandraratna said the team needs to remain focused on making necessary adjustments to succeed come the postseason.

“I think the key to doing well at Pac-12s is to not rest on our laurels,” Chandraratna said. “Sometimes after a successful performance, it’s easy to pull back, but we just need to keep pushing and do the things that got us here.”

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Gabrielle Siegel
Siegel is a 2023-2024 slot editor. She was previously a 2022-2023 Copy staff member and has contributed to News, Sports, Prime and Photo. She is also a fourth-year communication and Spanish student from Lincolnshire, Illinois.
Siegel is a 2023-2024 slot editor. She was previously a 2022-2023 Copy staff member and has contributed to News, Sports, Prime and Photo. She is also a fourth-year communication and Spanish student from Lincolnshire, Illinois.
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