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UCLA rowing sets course for final Pac-12 tournament ahead of Big Ten transition

A UCLA rowing eight boat makes its way through the water in a tournament. (Myka Fromm/Photo editor)

Rowing


Pac-12 Championships
Sunday

Sacramento

By Chloe Agas

May 19, 2024 12:25 a.m.

Every finale ignites a new beginning.

Prior to UCLA’s transition to the Big Ten, its final Pac-12 tournament signifies the end of a 109-year long era.

But for graduate student port Olivia Caesar, the final Pac-12 regatta marks only the beginning of a new thrilling obstacle.

“It’s everyone’s last Pac-12 – that makes it feel a little special,” Caesar said. “It’s going to be a new challenge, but I think it’s just going to make for exciting racing.”

UCLA rowing is set to compete in the last-ever Pac-12 tournament on Sunday in Sacramento, contending with USC, Oregon State, California, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. The regatta also motions a chance for the crews to compete against previous foes from this season.

“It’s definitely feeling kind of bittersweet that it’s the last Pac-12s ever,” said sophomore port Andrea Djuric. “It is also a motivation to be even better just because it is the last one for everyone.”

At last year’s Pac-12 championships, the Bruins finished last by three-tenths of a second. Across the board, UCLA landed with 10 championship points in total.

Caesar said the challenges of last year ignited a drive to rebound from the result.

“We really approached this year with the kind of attitude where it was, ‘Let’s do something dramatic and different,’” Caesar said. “I think at this point, we really feel fitter and stronger and technically more prepared to do this.”

She added that the team upped its mileage and intensity throughout the season and that its objective has shifted from remedying the past to building the future.

Coach Previn Chandraratna said a few seconds can make all the difference.

“A lot of this comes down to small margins,” he said. “It’s not a question of if we can. It’s a question of will and execution in those tight races.”

In addition to facing former rivals, the Bruins have a chance to advance to the NCAA championships. If they advance, it will mark the teams’ first appearance at the national level since 2014.

“I’m really, really confident that we’re going to go to NCAAs,” Djuric said.

The regatta is set to commence at 9 a.m. Sunday morning.

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