The UCI men’s rowing team finished up what proved to be a great 2018-19 season over the Memorial Day weekend by placing sixth in the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta in Georgia’s Lake Lanier Olympic Park.

After competing in heats throughout Friday and Saturday, the men’s second varsity 8 crew finished second in the Sunday B finals – three boat lengths ahead of the competition. And the men’s novice 4 crew took fifth place in the A final.

Racing against top-seeded Purdue University in the first heat of the regatta’s premier race, the men’s varsity 8 team earned a spot in the last event Sunday: the grand finals. UCI was the only West Coast school to advance to the grand finals, ultimately finishing sixth out of eight crews.

As one of the founding sports at UCI, rowing has a long history of success and has produced a number of Olympians and Olympic gold medalists. The season is nine months long, broken into three sections: Fall is endurance racing, winter is for conditioning and strength training, and spring brings sprint racing.

“We are a 100 percent walk-on sport, and athletes are encouraged to join at any point of their academic journey at UCI, although we love having four-year oarsmen,” said Austin Brooks, head coach for seven years and a previous competitor with four national titles. “We practice Monday through Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. The athletes hold a team GPA of 3.45, with most of them being engineers or having other STEM-based majors.”

The crew members raised $50,000 to go to the national championship – with 411 gifts from family, friends, alumni and community members.